How to Write a Targeted Resume

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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 which the candidate applies.

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

Why Write a Targeted Resume? 

Adapting your resume for each position you apply for takes some time and effort, but 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 be careful to 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. Here's information on how to tell if a job is a good fit.

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 in 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. Here's how to decode a job advertisement, so you know what the employer is looking for.

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

Targeted Resume for Human Resources Manager Position
Review the complete targeted resume.

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 him that you should be considered for an interview.