All-star job-seekers know a secret. They understand that the best way to stand out in an applicant pool is to submit a resume tailored to the specific job they are applying to. This means all-star job seekers have multiple versions of their resume.
You are an all-star job seeker. Let's review how to tailor your resume to the jobs you're applying to. You’ll do this by grabbing the words from the job description and adding them to your resume bullet points. These are the bullet points in your master list of work experiences that are already in a storytelling format and include quantitative data.
So you have it on-hand, here are the bullet points you've already crafted in a prior exercise:
In 2021, people don’t read most resumes. They scan for brands and keywords. So, you want to make it glaringly obvious that you’re a strong potential fit for the role by including specific words they are looking for.
Let’s say the job description reads, “Communicate project status and milestones to key partners and ensure teams are accountable to complete tasks at hand.”
In that job description item, note the keywords: project status, milestones, and accountable
So, in that case, find a bullet point you have about project management. Edit it to include those keywords. As in, “Led weekly project status meetings for cross-functional team members, uncovering risks to project timelines and enabling 85% of project milestones to be completed on time.”
This can naturally take more than a few minutes per resume. A couple of tools you can use to make this easier are Jobscan and Skillsyncer. When you paste in the text of your resume and job description, the tools will highlight which keywords you have the opportunity to add. Pretty neat!
Another option is to use TagCrowd to generate a word cloud from the job description and then weave in the top keywords. It’s less accurate but fewer clicks. Take your pick.
As you’ve been adding numbers and keywords and accomplishments to your bullets, they’ve inevitably gotten a bit long and kind of wordy. That’s totally OK for now. But as the next step, we want to make sure the bullets are crisp, elegant, and digestible.
If you’re not a natural wordsmith, use these resume tips:
Read the bullet point out loud
You are aiming for readability. If it feels like a mouthful to read, it’s not done yet. Think about how you can simplify it. It is better to say less than to put something that most people don’t understand right away.
Think about the word economy
What is the maximum amount of information you can convey in the minimum amount of characters?
Workshop with a friend
You have an insane amount of context about your job, company, and industry. Read your bullet point to a smart person who doesn't know exactly what you do. Ask them what they think it means. The answers will surprise you! Ask them to explain it back to you in their own words. Their version will often be clearer than yours.
Use a thesaurus
Look up synonyms for long words to find synonyms that have fewer letters. It might sound out there, but it works.
OK! Now, you should have ended up with a long list of bullet points in your master list of work experiences. Now, save this document as its own file so you can come back to it as needed when tailoring your resume for future roles.
Select the most relevant, most impressive, and most representative bullet points about you and copy + paste the best of your bullet points into your resume template.
Aim to include 2-6 excellent bullet points per experience. You’ll likely have written some bullet points that don’t make it on the master resume. That’s completely OK.
At this point, you can edit down to 1 page. Or, leave it long for the time being and edit for each job as you go along.
And voila! Your resume is effectively complete. Well done! 🎉