How to Customize Your Resume for Your Industry

How to Customize Your Resume for Your Industry

Job seekers don't have it easy these days. With unemployment rates slow to recover relative to the economy and fewer positions being filled from a very large pool of potential employees, it's doubly important to make sure your resume looks good. That means personalizing it for every potential employer. Here are a few ways to make sure your resume gets past the first round of scans.

Use Keywords

Almost every major company uses some kind of software to compare incoming resumes to the job description. Review the job ad for the target position, and pick out any work-related words that appear more than once. Those are keywords the employer will be looking for, so make sure you include them in your resume.

These keywords should be terms you see and hear repeatedly in your industry, like particular software you use, certifications you’ve earned, or specific skills you have. Make sure those are on your resume so they'll get past the computers and in front of a pair of human eyes.

Focus on Results, Not Descriptions

Did you increase sales last year by X%? If so, put that on your resume and how you did it, instead of the "led team of salespeople to increase sales in XYZ Sector." Prospective employers want to know what you can bring to the company, not just that you showed up every day and did your job.


Many hiring managers hone in on a person's work experience straight off, so you want to put that somewhere near the top, in a larger and bolder font than your contact information or your skills and activities. If a company is looking for someone with specific academic credentials, make sure that’s emphasized. You want to give them what they're looking for from the very beginning, so make it’s easy for them to like your resume.

Use the Right Language

This doesn't just mean making sure your resume is typo- and error-free . While these qualities are important—in fact, necessary—to your job search success, it's also crucial to use the right tone.

If you're applying for a very technical job, it's okay for your resume to be a little dry and full of highly technical data and verbage. If you're applying for a more creative job, your resume can be a little more stylistic and your word choice more flowery (but not over the top, of course).

You should fit the tone of your resume with the job description but also your knowledge of the company itself to ensure that they know you understand what kind of attitude they can expect from you.

Have Someone Else Look at It

A resume is always best read through someone else's eyes. If you know someone in the industry who can give your resume the once-over, it's always a good idea to get their opinion. Even if you don't know anyone in your particular field who can help, give it to someone whose opinion you value and ask for an honest critique of it.

While your resume should be updated consistently and tweaked for every prospective employer, constant editing can lead to typos and errors, and a second set of eyes can spot them much better than you can.

If you use these tips to customize your resume, you'll have a much better chance at scoring an interview. If you send out a blanket resume to every employer in your field, the hiring manager will know right off whether you paid attention to the job description at all. Personalizing it shows that you care about the job and are a serious candidate for the position. If you need more assistance, try LiveCareer's Resume Builder to help create the best resume possible.

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