In today’s job market, applicants have the opportunity to write unique resumes and cover letters to target specific postings. In this video, you will learn how to determine the best keywords for each job, use transferable skills to show your qualifications, and to effectively change resumes and cover letters for each job to which you are applying.
- The number one complaint I hear from job seekers is that they've applied to dozens, maybe hundreds of jobs, without hearing a peep from employers, and almost every time without fail, it's because they haven't personalized their resumes or cover letters at all. To really stand out from hundreds of other applicants, you must send unique resumes and cover letters for each application, and in this video, I'll show you how. Making a unique resume for each job posting is one of the best ways to spend your job search time.
Here's why. First, keywords are incredibly important. Your resume will be read by a computer, called an applicant tracking system, before a human ever sees it. It's hunting for keywords, and if you don't have them, it rejects you. No questions asked. Second, it's obvious when a resume isn't tailored. Hiring managers and recruiters spends somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds reviewing a resume, and they're scanning it for the big qualifications and keywords from the job description, just like the computer does.
If your resume isn't tailored, it's hard for them to quickly draw a connection between you and the open position. So, to tailor your resume and cover letters, try the following things. Make a list of the key qualifications from the job description, and compare them to what you can offer, and don't forget about your transferable skills. What are transferable skills? They're the types of intangible skills that help people truly excel in different roles. You might have heard them called soft skills, but that name really takes away from the power that they hold in your job search.
Here are some of the big transferable skills you might want to use. Skills that get things done: are you great with a budget, a solid project manager, or someone who connects the dots, and motivates other people? Skills that lead people: have you ever managed direct reports, or a project team? Have you ever had to direct contractors, vendors, or volunteers? Do people look to you for help, because you're a natural leader? Skills that communicate effectively: it doesn't matter your job, everyone needs to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing.
If you successfully trained or taught other people, you're a communicator. Now that you've got a list of the key job qualifications, and your transferable skills, it's time to start personalizing and tailoring your cover letters and resume. On your resume, add your most relevant skills and qualifications to the summary of qualifications. Re-word some of your job descriptions, and add information to your skills section. For example, if you're applying for a sales position, you might write a bullet in your job description that says, "Increased quarterly sales by 16%, "forming strong relationships with clients "through interpersonal skills," but if you're also applying for a different job as a sales manager, you might change that bullet to read, "Coached fellow sales associates on forming relationships with clients, using my strong leadership skills." On your cover letter, draw comparisons between the job description's requirements, and your qualifications.
Tell a brief story of a time when you used several of their key, must have skills, successfully in a previous job. Paint a picture in the mind of the recruiter, so they can see you doing this work. The first few times you do this, have a trusted friend or family member read the job description, and then have them read your resume and cover letter to see if you've made your best qualifications and skills stand out. If they think the document seems too formulaic, or not personalized enough, work on them a bit more.
So, be sure to focus on the best keywords and qualifications from the job description, tailor the different parts of your resume, and write unique examples, and stories in your cover letter. Does it take longer to tailor each resume and cover letter to the job? Yes, but instead of blanket applying to every job with the same materials, you'll find this a far more effective approach.
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