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What Does “Tailor Your Resume” Really Mean?

What Does “Tailor Your Resume” Really Mean?


When you’re searching for a job, it’s only natural that you will want plenty of advice. With good advice, you can make the most of every single job application that you send.

The majority of the advice you find will hammer home the necessity to adhere to a particular principle: Tailor your resume to each particular job. Tailor your cover letter to each particular job. Often, the guides don’t go much further than that; emphasizing the “why” but skipping on the “how”.

Let’s dig into the “how”. Given that it’s well-established that tailoring your resume is so important, spend a little time learning how exactly you should do that– so that every application that you send has the best chance for success.

STEP ONE: Research The Company

If you’re going to make your resume fit a particular company, then you’re going to have to learn about that company. Otherwise, you have no way of knowing what they might be looking for.

Sometimes, you will be applying to a company that you’re familiar with, such as Subway or Walmart– places you have been, used, and know plenty about. Even in this circumstance, you should take the time to Google for more information. There’s really no conceivable way you can have too much information for this step.

You want to know:

  • How the business operates; i.e. is it a franchise? A public company?
  • Recent innovations the business has introduced; have they opened new branches? Expanded a product line?
  • What are the main values the company believes are important to their brand?

This is all information you need to collect, so you can refer to it throughout the application.

STEP TWO: Research The Job

The vast majority of job postings will include details about what is expected in the job. You now need to ma

If you’re going through a Subway job application, then there is very little point in you emphasizing your work history that involves office-based work. You would want to elevate work you have done that involves a fast-paced environment in a customer-facing role. Even if the relevant work is not the most recent, it goes at the top of your work experience list; because it’s the most relevant.

Conversely, if you were applying to be an office administrator, then your experience talking to customers would be irrelevant. Instead, you would focus on your computer and organizational skills.

STEP THREE: Find Relevant Skills In Any Job

Let’s say that you employment history is in a fast food environment and you’re now applying for office-based roles. You have no other office experience. So does that mean you can’t tailor your resume, given you have no prior experience in a similar role?

No; it just means you need to be clever about it. For example, someone in a fast-food environment has to be able to work under pressure– a skill that’s also relevant to office work. Furthermore, you could take good time keeping or working as part of a team from your fast food experience, and emphasize these fundamentals on your office application. Just because the roles are very different doesn’t mean they don’t have something in common in terms of the methodology of the job.

STEP FOUR: Compose A Cover Letter

Always include a cover letter if given the option. A cover letter is a chance for you to emphasize your knowledge and experience. This is where you might reference something you discovered while researching the history of the company, for example:

“I am looking for a new challenge, and with your company having recently expanded, I know I would be suited to performing a role in this new environment.”

Not only does this sell you, but it also sells your background research. Companies like that; they like to know someone is taken the application seriously enough to have researched the company history. It suggests you are specifically interested in applying to work for them, rather than just applying scatter-gun style to any job that is open for applications.

By following the steps above, you should be able to put together a convincingly tailored resume that helps sell your skills to the company you wish to work for. Remember to do your research, emphasize the skills you have that are compatible with the role on offer, and then let your hard work do the talking for you. With an application of this standard and a sprinkle of good luck, you should find yourself being called to interview sooner rather than later.

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