The perfect resume is not sitting in a folder on your computer. In fact, it is nowhere to be found. Simply
put, there is no such thing as one resume that is perfect for all job opportunities.
Companies are too different in scale, nomenclature, technology and mission and there are just too
many variables associated with all jobs to use one all-purpose resume. If you are sending the same
resume to every posting employer, you are missing the opportunity to help an employer choose you.
Customization is not difficult and it’s more important than ever because so many people are applying
for fewer jobs. With this in mind, we all need to treat our resumes like a living document, constantly
changing the focus to illustrate the connection between our experience and the requirements of the
Fact: Hiring managers are not looking for everything you have ever done. They can get that from your
job application. When hiring or talent managers are viewing your resume, they are looking for the
connection between your experience and the job description.
So why not help them? Perhaps accounting is your thing, not resume writing. Or maybe your writing or
word processing skills are less than what they should be. Regardless of your reason for not customizing,
it is time to raise your game. If you want to impress a prospective employer, base your resume not solely
on your experience and work history. Base it on the connection between your background and what the
job description is asking for.
The bullets of a job description can be critically important in determining what takes up real estate on
the resume. Take the average job description with a dozen bullets asking for certain aspects of
experience. If you can synthesize the essence of each of those 12 bullets and determine how to address
as many of them as possible in your summary and work experience, you will be using a more laser focused
Of course, honesty is still king. A resume is no place for deception or selective memory and helping an
employer choose you is not deceptive. It’s, well…helpful. I am simply saying you can help an employer
choose you by highlighting and prioritizing the aspects of your background that are listed on the job
Going back to our example, say the job description you are applying to has 12 bullets. If you have direct
experience in 10 of those bullets, transform the first 10 bullets of your resume into sentences that
address those aspects of the job description you actually possess. Don’t just give your responsibilities in
random order for job, after job without paying attention to what the employer really needs.
Using the JD as your template will deliver a familiar perspective and even some of the same
nomenclature and vernacular the company uses straight off the Job Description. But, don’t mess this up
by looking for an easy or less than honest route. Stay honest and don’t copy and paste bullets.
Having the same wording as a bullet will undo what you are trying to accomplish. You will need to
wordsmith all the bullets to make them compelling, but different enough so that no one would think
you followed the company’s own formula for what a successful candidate should look like. Also, use
accomplishments. People fill their resumes with “I did this,” or “I did that.” What employers really want
to know is what did you learn and accomplish at that company and how does it connect with what the
Your resume should be stacked with all your relevant accomplishments, some of which can even replace
your day-to-day responsibilities. Happy Hunting.