Ideally, you want to customize your resume to the job you are applying for. But, what if you simply don’t have the opportunity to tailor your resume to each and every job lead you’re interested in? For example, for a job fair or an online job board.
Here’s how you can write just one resume.
• Different colored highlighters
• 10 – 20 job leads of similar job titles or responsibilities
Steps to Take
1. Lay out all of the job leads. If you don’t have desk space to view each one, you might need to spread them out on the floor. Don’t stack the papers; you want to be able to see all of them.
2. Focus on and read any sections labeled “Requirements”, “Qualifications”, or related titles.
3. Determine your color-coding system. Consider highlighting different items, each with a different color:
• Skills you have performed for five or more years
• Activities you enjoy doing
• Responsibilities you’re capable of doing but don’t like to do so much
• Duties you haven’t done but are confident you can do
• Information that is repeated in all or most of the job leads
• Words or phrases prefaced with “Requires” or “Must have”
• Words or phrases prefaced with “Prefers” or “Desires”
4. Review the information you’ve highlighted. What repeats the most? For example, if the phrase “Must have excellent computer skills” or something similar is included in a majority of the job descriptions, then include this in your resume along with an example of how well you’ve demonstrated excellent computer skills. It’s important to match your experiences with the needs of the employers but avoid just restating the words from the job descriptions in your resume.
The most frequently given resume advice that I have read in articles and heard from employers, job search experts, and job seekers who have found work is this: customize your resume for each job lead.
However, if your circumstances don’t permit you to do this or you’re struggling to even write your first resume, use the instructions above to help guide you with creating just one resume.
Josie Toth is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions. She facilitates job search skills and career exploration classes in the 13-county Houston-Galveston area. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and enjoys encouraging others in their pursuit of meaningful work.