Artwork by: Sasha Serdyukova
Writing the perfect resume for your dream career can be tricky! But with these tips and examples, you can create a targeted resume designed to show businesses that you’d be a great fit for a specific job.
If you’re a job seeker hunting a specific career, you’ll need more than just a boilerplate resume. You’ll need a targeted resume, a document designed to convince hiring managers that you’re the dream candidate for your dream job. But what makes a targeted resume different from generic resumes? Keep reading to answer this question and learn how to write great targeted resumes for specific jobs.
The tips and examples in this article explain
What makes targeted resumes effective
What you should add to your targeted resume
What you should leave out of your targeted resume
How to write certain targeted resume sections
General-purpose resumes try to describe your entire history as a working professional: every job you’ve worked at, every degree you’ve earned, every skill you’ve mastered. The problem using these resumes during job hunts is that they force hiring managers to sift through data they don’t care about to find the data they do care about.
Targeted resumes, by contrast, only mention the skills and experience a specific company’s HR department needs to know. The resume is crafted in a targeted way for a specific job. This makes targeted resumes easier for those hiring managers to read, shows them that you’ve researched their company and the job requirements, and greatly improve your chance of getting hired for a specific job.
When you’re searching for new jobs every day, you might be tempted to design a general purpose resume document you can attach to every online application form. A targeted resume, however, will improve your chances of getting hired for these reasons.
Targeted resumes show your work ethic and knowledge. Hiring managers who read them will know you’ve researched their company and that you understand the target job.
Targeted resumes highlight relevant skills/experiences better. Hiring managers who read them can get straight to the information they care about and won’t get frustrated by irrelevant details.
Targeted resumes don’t get mistaken for spam as often. The more generic your resume, the greater the risk an HR department will just discard it out of hand.
If you’ve got a boilerplate resume document that you want to revise into a targeted resume, start by reading through your draft and trimming out everything that’s not related to your target job. If you’re applying to a white-collar office position, for example, you probably shouldn’t describe skills or experiences from food service or retail careers.
To boost your chances of being hired for your dream job, make sure your targeted resume doesn’t go over 3 pages. Hiring managers are statistically more likely to pick job seekers who upload 2 page resume documents.
These days, many business HR departments sort through resumes using an Applicant Tracking System, i.e. software that spots and lists the best candidates for a company’s job opening. Most ATS algorithms work by scanning resume documents for specific words and phrases used to describe a job’s responsibilities and requirements.
To add the right keywords to your targeted resume, study the online description for the job opening you’re pursuing. Make a list of technical terms, sample adjectives, and useful phrases from this job description, then paste keywords from this list into your targeted resume as you write it.
Most resume formats start with a professional summary, a paragraph that describes your profession of choice, fields of expertise, and best personal qualities. This professional summary should be clear and straightforward, hooking hiring managers and convincing them to read your resume to the end.
When writing a summary for your targeted resume, mention the company you’re applying to by name and describe your current profession using words from the title of your target job. If you can, also use keywords from the target job’s online description to describe your greatest accomplishments and past experiences.
Below the summary, add a skills section to your targeted resume that describes your professional talents in a bullet point list. At least some of the targeted resume skills in this list should be taken directly from your target job’s description. If none of the keywords from the target job’s online description can actually describe your real-life skills, that may be a sign you should change target jobs.
Add a work history section to your targeted resume that describes your most recent careers (if you’re not sure how far back your resume should go, avoid listing jobs from more than 10 years back). Each job entry should describe your core responsibilities in a paragraph and special accomplishments in a bullet-point list.
As you edit your targeted resume, make sure the jobs you list in the work history section directly qualifies you for the job opening you’re pursuing. If the terms in your resume keyword list can’t describe one of your past careers, you might want to remove that job entry from your targeted resume.
End your targeted resume with an education section. Like in most other resume templates, this education section should list every relevant university degree, license, or certification of yours, followed by institution names, locations, and years of graduation.
If you haven’t used all the target job keywords you collected, add them to your targeted resume’s education section by listing special achievements from your times at specific institutions of learning. If you did intern work at your alma mater, for example, you can describe that internship using phrases and terms from your keyword list.
To get started on your new targeted resume, check out Career.io’s Resume Builder here.
Targeted resumes are designed to show a single company you’re qualified for a specific job of theirs.
Compared to general resumes, targeted resumes are more likely to catch the interest of hiring managers and less likely to be mistaken for spam.
To get noticed by a company’s ATS, your targeted resume should have keywords and phrases taken from the target job’s online description.
Mention the title and company of your target job in your targeted resume’s summary paragraph.
Coleman is a professional writer specializing in creating standout resumes & cover letters. Aside from helping job-seekers create documents optimized for getting results, Coleman writes career advice blogs covering a wide range of in-demand career development topics. Whether providing clients with their perfect resume or comprehensive insights into trending professional topics, Coleman is there to lend his invaluable expertise.