To make your resume stand out from the crowd, don’t waste your time on fancy paper or fonts. Instead, take the time to target your resume to the specific job and organization you’re applying to. With only 20-30 seconds to impress the employer, you’ve got to demonstrate your fit fast. A targeted resume presents employers with content that clearly showcases your skills, knowledge, and experience in relation to the position; employers aren’t left “guessing.”
To target your resume, first carefully review the job ad for clues as to what knowledge, skills, and abilities the organization is looking for. Identify any key words and, whenever possible, use those same terms in your resume. Keywords play an important role in the pre-screening process. Often only those resumes that successfully get past pre-screeners are reviewed by the HR department and/or managers. If you have some gaps in qualifications, don’t panic; gaps can be addressed in your targeted cover letter. Carefully consider how you’ll overcome these gaps and highlight what other value you bring to the position.
Don’t stop with qualifications. Investigate corporate culture and target your resume here as well. A company’s website can give your clues on the corporate culture. Take a look for a corporate mission statement or articles on the organization’s charitable endeavours. If you can make a link between your own values and the organization’s, you’ll be able to demonstrate a good corporate fit.
Ultimately, you want to make it as easy as possible for the organization to see your relevant qualifications and fit within the organization. And always remember, a clean, concise, and error-free resume is a must. For more tips on resume writing, see 10 Tips for Crafting a Compelling Resume.