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4 Tips on How to Tailor Your Resume to a Job Offer

If there was one thing and only one thing that you could do to make your resume better would you want to know what it was?

Whenever you respond to a job offer, you have to take into consideration that your resume is up against 250+ other resumes on average.

The result is that recruiters only spend an average of six seconds scanning each one for relevance.

So, what are they trying to find? What will recruiters find relevant?


They are scanning your resume to find the skills and experience they asked for in the job description.

The only way to write your resume so that a recruiter thinks your resume is in the right place is to make sure that you’ve tailored your resume to match the job description.

1. No One Creates a Master Resume, But It Works So Well

Before you even look at the job offer, consider creating a master resume.

Perhaps you already have a working resume that you want to revamp. That’s a good place to start because a master resume is almost the same thing.

The difference is that a master resume will include all of your work experience, skills, and information.


That way, when you begin to write a new resume, you can refer to your master resume to pick and choose the most relevant skills and experience.

Having everything in one place to begin with will make things easier when you start to tailor your new resume.

2. Here’s How to Tailor Your Resume to a Job Description

Start by highlighting or underlining the skills and required experience listed in the job description. These will most likely be the “keywords” that recruiters are trying to find.

You will want to add most of these skills to your resume, and you will want to add some of them verbatim.

Keep in mind that there are different types of skills.

1) Job-related Skills: These are the skills that are mandatory for the job. If you don’t have these skills, you probably will not be able to do the work that is required.

Example: Scuba Diving

2) Transferable Skills: These are key skills that you can take with you from one job to another. There will probably be quite a few transferable skills listed in the job description.

Example: Microsoft Excel

3) Adaptive Skills: These are skills that you carry with you for survival. Often, they are skills that you develop on your own and use in regular, everyday life.

Example: Integrity

Look at what you’ve highlighted.

Can you categorize the skills listed in the job description? Can you find the job-related skills?

Your resume should include all of the job-related skills that you have and find in the job description. They should be included near the top of the resume in your summary, and at the top of your skills section.

You should also demonstrate how you’ve used these skills before in past jobs in your experience section. Try using numbers and achievements to illustrate your use of these skills. Adding numbers will also make it easier for the recruiter to locate them in your resume.


Instead of writing: “Management Skills.”

Write: “Management of Large Teams (100+ people)”

For your experience section write: Managed a team of more than 100 people capable of delivering projects with significant cost savings of up to 10% per project.

The use of numbers will draw the eye of the recruiter to your job-related skills. It has the added benefit of allowing the recruiter to imagine you achieving the same results for them.

Once you’ve located all of the job-related skills, identify all of the transferable skills listed in the job offer.

These are skills that the hiring manager will find desirable in a new employee. You should add any that you have to your skills section.

You should also list the transferable skills you feel strongest about in your experience section. Again, provide numbers and achievements to illustrate your strength using those skills.

When you finish, go back to your master resume and add any other valuable transferable skills that you have that the job offer did not mention. Transferable skills are always relevant, and it will help you flesh out your skills section.

You can add adaptive skills throughout your resume as a way to describe yourself. For example, you can start your resume summary off with an adaptive skill as an introductory adjective.


Honest Marketing Manager


Ambitious Real Estate Agent

3. Here’s How to Avoid Making One Common Mistake

Don’t forget to tailor your cover letter to the job description as well. The same rules apply to a cover letter.

In most cases, you will still need to send a cover letter with your resume, and recruiters will scan them in the same way they will scan your resume.

They will look for keyword skills listed in the job description.

You will want to add several of the skills listed in the job description verbatim, where relevant, in your cover letter.

4. Here’s How to Make Sure You’ve Done a Good Job

Once you’ve finished tailoring your resume to the job description, you can see how well they match by dropping your resume into a cloud generator.

By using a cloud generator, you will be able to see which words are most prominent in your resume.

If the words that appear are not skills or are not words you want to be remembered by, you should tweak your resume so that you use important words more often.

Once you’ve done that, you can try out a site like Jobscan. Here you will be able to drop both your resume and your job offer into an Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) simulator.

Nowadays, it is common for your resume to be sent through ATS before it falls into the hands of a real person.

The systems are designed to check how relevant your resume is to a job offer by scanning it for keywords from the job offer. If you’ve tailored your resume to the job offer, then ATS should find it relevant.

Even if your resume isn’t going to be scanned via ATS, using a site like Jobscan will at least give you an idea of how well you’ve tailored your resume to match the job description.

Key Takeaway...

Tailoring your resume to the job description is one of the most important things you can do to show a recruiter in six seconds or less that your resume is relevant and in the right place.

While it may seem easy, following the steps above should help you streamline the process. And you will be sure that you’ve done a good job of tailoring before you send your resume to a hiring manager.