It’s no secret that recruiters like ours want to do the best we can for the candidates we work with. But it’s important that you understand that we can’t do it without your help. We know that it takes time to produce a quality resume. You have to think about all the places you’ve been, what you did there and what benefit your employer received during your tenure. Then you have to list things like awards received, certifications you have and software packages you’re familiar with. This is a process, and depending on your level of experience in the workforce, it can be a lengthy one. As such, once it’s done, there’s a natural inclination to leave you resume as-is … and then send it out for every job you want to apply for.
Sadly, this approach is unlikely to get you the job. Or even an interview.
When we advertise a job, we are often inundated with resumes. Many come from people with only a rough approximation of the experience and skills needed. Reading through every one of these resumes takes more time than we often have, which is why we use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
What the ATS does is look for keywords in a resume and compare them with what we’ve listed in the job posting itself. A good keyword match takes the applicant to the next stage. As much as we hate to admit it, three out of every four resumes don’t pass through this initial stage, which means that being selected for an interview is highly unlikely.
To get past the ATS, you need to match the keywords in your resume to those in the advertisement. This means modifying your resume for each opportunity you plan on applying to, as well as writing a custom cover letter that also closely matches the advertisement.
Here’s how to ensure that your resume is customized to each job you’re applying for, without having to completely start from scratch every single time.
Don’t Apply to Every Single Job You See
Sending out three hundred applications in a single week may feel like serious job hunting, but unless you actually qualify for all three hundred (and very few people do), it’s probably unwise because you won’t spend nearly enough time on the few for which you are a really good fit.
Prepare a Career Management Document Before You Start
By career management document, we mean a single “master” curriculum vitae that lists every job you’ve had, everything you did there, every achievement you can think of, every qualification and training course completed, and every leisure activity you’ve ever been involved in. This will be a long document and you will never send it to anyone. Instead you will mine it for the raw material for each resume you produce. The fact that every single thing is in it means you won’t miss something you shouldn’t. When the document is complete, make a list of every keyword you can detect in it and cross-reference each of those keywords to each relevant point in the document.
Read Job Advertisements Carefully and Extract Every Keyword You See
Write these keywords down. Then compare them with the keywords in your Career Management Document. Now take those points from the Career Management Document and put them into the resume you are sending with this application for this job.
You’re Not Done Yet
When you get past the ATS, your job isn’t quite finished because you haven’t nabbed an interview yet. Once you pass through the initial screening, your resume and cover letter will be read by an actual person.
We’re going to suggest a little A/B testing here. Alternate the style of your resume so that half your applications are in a formal, “professional” style and the other half are a bit more laid-back. Make sure you track what style you use for each job opportunity you apply for. If you do, you’ll quickly be able to tell which approach is generating the most favorable responses.
While creating a new resume for each job you apply to can be a time-consuming process, in the end, you’ll find that it’ll be well worth the effort.
Interested in learning more strategies that’ll help you land your dream job? If so, contact Integrity Staffing Professionals today!