How to Tailor a Resume for a Job Description (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published July 13, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A resume is an important document that can help you move forward in your career. While you can use a generic resume for all your applications, it can be more effective to tailor each resume to a specific job. Understanding how to tailor a resume for a job description can improve your chances of getting an interview for the position. In this article, we examine how to tailor a resume for a job description, explain why it's important to tailor your resume, and view some tips for creating a great resume.

How to tailor a resume for a job description

Below is a list of steps you can follow if you are interested in learning how to tailor a resume for a job description:

1. Read the job description

Before creating your resume, carefully review the job description. While doing your initial read-through of the description, make note of keywords you can implement. You can assess if there are skills that are mentioned, any experience or educational requirements, or even certificates that the company considers relevant. This can help you begin creating the first draft of your resume based on those specific skills and certifications. While your resume may change as you add more information, having a first draft from just those criteria can provide you with an excellent starting point.

Related: How to Write a Job Description (With Template and Example)

2. Research the company

To help further tailor your resume, it can be helpful to conduct more research on the company. In this research, you want to discover the company's mission statement and its core values. While some companies may list these at the start of the job description, many others have them posted on their website. The mission statement and core values can help to guide your resume by showing you what the company wants from their employees. For example, if the company values building community relationships, then it can be beneficial to include a section about your volunteer work on your resume.

Related: Research Skills: Definition and Examples

3. Develop keywords

After studying the job description and researching the company, it can be helpful to develop a list of keywords. You can develop these keywords from common words or phrases that are used throughout the job description. This can help you assess the description and discover what's most important to the company. You can then use those keywords throughout your resume. This may help to differentiate your resume from others and make you a more competitive candidate. Many hiring teams are looking for keywords when reviewing resumes, so if you're able to use them, they may notice yours.

Related: What Are Resume Keywords and Why Are They Important?

4. Filter your content

Once you've established your keywords and the important information that you want to include, filter the content of your resume. You can remove any content that isn't relevant to the position or re-word it so that it includes more of the keywords or phrases. By revising your content, you can help to make your resume more specific, which may make it more compelling to the hiring manager of that job.

5. Provide related proof

Make sure that you include proof or justification for any information that may be on your resume. This may mean providing examples of how you have used particular skills, or showing how you applied those skills in different jobs. For example, instead of just saying you have strong communication skills, you can discuss how your job has you make presentations and network with clients. This tells the hiring team you have communication skills and provides proof to verify that claim. This helps to add more credibility to all the statements on your resume.

Related: Reputation Manager Job Description (Including Salary)

Why is it important to tailor your resume?

Tailoring your resume is important because it allows you to better showcase your skills to a potential employer. While generic resumes can help you get a job, they can sometimes be less effective. A resume that's tailored to a specific job description can show an employer how much you care about getting the position.

Putting in the extra effort can help you deliver a resume that showcases your best qualities and presents exactly how they relate to that position. By relating your skills to the position, it can be easier for an employer to see how you may fit in with their company.

Tips for creating a resume

Listed below are some tips you can use that can help you create your resume:

Keep it short

Many resumes can be too long, which may mean an employer won't read the entire resume. This can cause them to miss important skills and qualifications that may help you get the position. Keeping your resume short and simple helps ensure that an employer has the time to analyze the entire document. Many employers receive a huge amount of resumes, so if yours is short and composed of strong bullet points, it can make it easier for them to review the crucial information. It's best practice to make sure that your resume is no longer than two typed pages.

Proofread your resume

The resume is the first item that an employer receives from you and it can play a big part in how they form their first impressions. Proofreading your resume helps you to avoid errors that may impact that impression. When proofreading, look for grammar or spelling errors, unnecessary information, or improper formatting.

Spending the time proofreading can help to ensure that you submit a resume that reflects your attention to detail and a high level of quality. It can also make it easier to get an interview for a job, as opposed to turning in a resume that may have some errors on it.

Related: Copy Editing vs. Proofreading: Definitions, Skills, and Duties

Keep only relevant information

When creating a resume, especially one that you're tailoring to a specific job, it's essential that you only use relevant information. If your resume is full of non-essential information, it can be hard for employers to assess your candidacy for the open position. For example, if you're applying for a job as an accountant, it may not be relevant to mention that you have a certificate in first aid. Filtering out that information helps to improve your resume and can help impress the hiring manager.

Related: What Is Relevant Experience? Definition and Examples

Keep it honest

Making sure that your resume is honest about your experience and your skills can be the best way to succeed in the job market. When you present experiences or skills on a resume, an employer often expects some verification of that claim. By always being honest about your skill level, you can make sure that you can always provide an employer with examples or proof. Many employers also want employees who are honest, so that they can trust them while at work. Honesty helps to establish healthy work relationships from the very beginning.

Related: What Is Honesty and Integrity in a Workplace Setting?

Include volunteer work

Many businesses value community involvement and volunteer work. Taking part as a volunteer shows a number of desirable qualities in an employee. For some jobs, this may not be relevant, but for many, including your volunteer history can show great character. Being a volunteer can show that you're generous, you can manage your time well, and you're dedicated to helping people.

Many employers may value these traits and see that you may bring that same passion and good spirit into the workplace. On a resume, you can include volunteer history as its own section after education, or if there if it's only one or two items, you can add them with your other qualifications and skills.

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