How to Write a Targeted Resume

Reviewing resume at job interview
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What are targeted resumes and why should job seekers use them? A targeted resume focuses on a specific job opening. The targeted resume is written to highlight the skills and experiences relevant to a particular position. When sending targeted resumes, the resume will be edited or rewritten for each job to which the candidate applies.

Also, a targeted cover letter is typically written to accompany the resume when applying for jobs.

Writing a Targeted Resume

Adapting your resume for each position you apply for takes some time and effort, but it helps to make it very clear to hiring managers and whoever else sees your resume that you're a good fit for the position.

Customizing your resume allows you to showcase the qualifications, accomplishments, and particular aspects of your work history that match closely with the requirements listed in the job description.

Be aware that the more you tweak and adjust a resume, the higher your risk of introducing an error or typo; always proofread carefully before sending your resume to an employer.

Since any revisions take time, be certain that the job is indeed a good match, and that the company is likely to be receptive to your application, before spending time personalizing your resume for a particular position.

Tips for Targeting Your Resume

  • Edit the Summary or Profile: You don't necessarily need to rewrite your entire resume to make it targeted for a particular position. Sometimes a few small updates in key sections of your resume can have a powerful impact on defining your strengths. The first step is to review the job description carefully so that you can be sure the position is a good match for you, and know which qualities and skills to emphasize on your resume. The easiest way to target your resume (without rewriting the whole resume) is to include a Resume Summary of Qualifications, a Profile, or Career Highlights section at the top of your resume. Review the job description and then review your resume. Take the experience, credentials, and education that best match the job posting and include them in the Summary of Qualifications section at the top of your resume. Then list your experience in reverse chronological order, just like you would on a traditional resume.
  • Write a Custom Resume: Another option for customizing your resume is to edit your resume, so your skills and experience are as close a match as possible to the job description or job ad requirements. Take the keywords used in the job posting and work them into your resume.

Example of Matching a Resume With a Job Posting

  • Sample Help Wanted Ad with Targeted Resume: The following is an example of a job posting, along with a sample resume written specifically to apply for that position. You can see how the resume writer made sure that her highlighted skills are exactly what the employer is seeking.
  • Sample Help Wanted Ad for Human Resources Manager: Recruit all exempt and non-exempt employees. Orient new employees to the organization. Design and implement staff training and development programs. Manage employee retention initiatives. Administer all compensation, benefit, and state-mandated programs including processing of enrollments, terminations, unemployment, and workers compensation claims. Responsible for compliance with state and federal labor laws. Serve as COBRA administrator for the company. Member of union contract negotiating and management team.
  • Human Resources Manager Targeted Resume Sample: The following is a sample resume targeted to the above job posting. As you can see the Summary of Qualifications closely correlates with the job posting.

Resume Summary of Qualifications

  • Experienced manager with expertise in human relations and project management
  • Extensive background in staff recruitment and retention
  • Staff training and development
  • Superb written and oral communication skills
  • Organizational and Strategic Planning
  • Management Coaching
  • Program Marketing
  • Contract negotiation and compliance
  • Knowledge of Federal and State Employment Law

Review a Targeted Resume Example

Targeted Resume Sample

Janine Carbone
1895 Sunbrier Circle
Backstone, CA 01234
cell: 000-123-4567


  • Experienced manager with expertise in human relations and project management
  • Extensive background in staff recruitment and retention
  • Staff training and development
  • Superb written and oral communication skills
  • Organizational and strategic planning
  • Management coaching
  • Program marketing
  • Contract negotiation and compliance
  • Knowledge of Federal and State Employment Law


Riverbend Inc., 2014 - Present

  • Senior Management of a Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) accredited treatment facility. Responsible for all aspects of program management; clinical, administrative, fiscal.
  • Responsible for recruiting, orienting, training and supervising 50 staff, was able to reduce staff turnover from 68% to 14% by improving staff orientation and training, professional development, and mid-level management coaching.
  • Oversight of all aspects of staff performance; performance evaluation, progressive discipline, mediation of staff disputes and grievance procedures in accordance with state and federal laws.
  • Leadership in the setting and achieving of strategic and organizational goals.
  • Established training programs for staff in regard to all aspects of workplace performance and professional development.
  • Program Marketing, increased annual revenue by 38%.

R. Dykeman Center, 2010 - 2014

  • Administrative, clinical, fiscal and human resources management of a large outpatient mental health center; 60 full time employees and 45 contract employees housed in various locations.
  • Responsible for the recruitment and supervision and performance evaluation of clinical, administrative and medical staff.
  • Provided training to enhance workplace performance at all levels of staffing.
  • Nominated as Training Coordinator for the West Seattle Mental Health Consortium, providing training as the trainer or contracting with relevant professionals to provide training in the areas of culturally relevant services, professional ethics and law, and areas of professional development as requested by staff members.
  • Concurrently completed a two-year certificate program in Organizational Development and Leadership as the recipient of a merit scholarship by the Microsoft Corporation.
  • Independent Consultant to several small businesses, law firms, non-profit agencies and school districts on staff grievance procedures, team building and the setting and achieving of organizational goals.

Family Reconciliation Services, 2007 - 2010

  • Provided program management of the largest FRS contract in Washington State.
  • FRS was responsible for providing in-home crises counseling to families on a 24/7 basis.
  • Responsible for the recruitment, orientation, supervision and performance evaluation of up to 45 Master's level clinicians.
  • During this 10-year period, increased the ethnic diversity of staff from 0% to 36% and provided more culturally relevant services to the community served.
  • Served as organizational and clinical consultant to a variety of organizations including Bellevue School District; Port S'klallam Tribal Health Board; Eastside Mental Health; Renton Area Youth & Family Services; as well as several businesses and law firms.
  • Completed the training required to become an American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) Approved Supervisor.

CLINICAL DIRECTOR - Chemical Dependency Treatment Programs
Rogue Valley Medical Center, 2000 - 2007

  • Hired by the medical center to design and implement a residential treatment program.
  • Responsible for the recruitment and hiring of all staff; medical, administrative and clinical.
  • Responsible for public relations and Program Marketing.
  • Developed compensation structure and performance management and employee training and evaluation structures.
  • Developed an on-going training program for nursing and clinical staff and served as a liaison between the hospital and the community providing training to community partners; schools, the police department and relevant medical and mental health professionals.
  • Designed and brought into existence a family education and support structure for the community.


  • Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) certification course work completed
  • The Whidbey Institute, Organizational Development and Leadership
  • University of Heidelberg, Germany, Psy.D in Clinical Psychology
  • University of California at Berkeley, BA in Philosophy and German


  • Society of Human Resources Management
  • Portland Human Resources Management Association

Targeted Cover Letters

In addition to targeting your resume, you will need to target your cover letter similarly. Again, take the skills that match the job criteria and highlight them. You will need to show the hiring manager that you're a qualified candidate. You will only have a few seconds to convince them that you should be considered for an interview.