Unless you’re only interested in being considered for one specific job at one specific company, sending out the same resume to every job listing is an exercise in futility. When job-seeking, most people seek out opportunities in one or two general areas of employment consisting of hundreds of different job titles. Customizing your resume as if you were speaking to the specific reader will increase your chances of scoring that all-important initial interview.
Reason One: A customized resume relates to a specific job.
Your resume needs to address the specific needs of each individual hiring manager. Someone looking to hire for a hairdressing position won’t be impressed while reading about your spectacular achievements during your illustrious career changing oil at an auto repair shop. That information may eventually be helpful in the hiring process and will surely come to light during an interview, but your skills relevant to this particular job must impress the reader enough to earn you that extremely important first interview.
Reason Two: A customized resume speaks to a specific situation.
It can be very helpful to consider who is likely to be reading your resume. Potential employers respond better to candidates they feel that they can understand. If your next resume is being sent to a large accounting firm, the reader may be very impressed with the technical knowledge that you can display in your resume. This reader should come away with a feeling that this applicant has an extensive knowledge of the subject and knows how to conduct themselves in a business environment.
Reason Three: A customized resume emphasizes your strengths.
Many of you reading this article will have only one resume that you use when responding to job listings that interest you. At the very least, there should be two base resumes that you draw from: one that is oriented chronologically and another that is based on personal experiences and qualifications. A combination of the two may also be helpful.
If the jobs you’ve most recently held are very similar to the one you’re currently applying for, you may best be served by using a chronological resume. This shows the employer that you’re current in your knowledge regarding this type of work and are able to hit the ground running with a minimum amount of training aimed at getting you up to speed.
If you don’t have recent employment in positions similar to the one you’re applying for, a functional resume may be a better choice. This shows a potential employer the skills and knowledge you possess that are pertinent to the position, regardless of when they were last used. This type of resume should be customized to fit the position applied for, listing the skills most relevant to the position first.
Use LiveCareer’s Resume Builder to prepare three generic resumes—chronological, functional, and combination—to use as starting points for all potential employers, then customize them for each employer. Remember, using the same resume for all job applications can ending up seeming impersonal. Potential employers don’t want to know why you’re a good employee in general; they want to know why you’ll be a good employee for a particular position at their company.