For those people who have been reading the Freesumes blog for some time now, you will understand why we strongly recommend that you tailor your resume to each individual job application you make.
While this advice may seem like a time-consuming task, it is well worth it in the end because employers can spot a generic-looking, non-job-specific resume a mile away.
Can I Write a Resume Faster?
You may have plenty of other things you need to do with your time rather than sitting down for hours and typing up and re-writing endless copies of your resume.
But let’s face it – there is no other way to land the job that you want without tailoring your resume to appeal to the employer and deliver what they are looking for in a job candidate.
Lucky you, there are shortcuts that you can take that will help to prevent hours of mind-numbing re-writing and save yourself some precious time.
Firstly, let’s take a look at how you can save the time of re-writing your resume before moving on to how you can be more productive with your writing time to get more done.
Resume sections that stay in place
You will find that most resumes will follow a set layout that is quite common. This means that there will be generic parts that once written out, you can leave pretty much permanently intact.
The most obvious example here is your name and contact details (unless you move house or change your email or phone number of course).
As long as you use a smart and easy to read font, you should be OK to leave your contact details exactly the same and untouched on each of your resume re-writes.
Again, the same thing applies to such details as your section headings. Your headings such as your education, training, skills and experience should never change as you will need to present these sections for the employer to read.
Use a high-quality resume template
This is why it makes sense to use a very well-crafted and professional looking resume template as your base document. You can then fill out all the sections that you know will not change from one job application to another.
The added bonus of using a beautifully designed and eye-catching resume template is that you will know you don’t need to start a new resume off from scratch with each job application.
Downloading one of our stylish premium resume packs is a great way to keep a high-quality resume template on file for future use.
Choose which section comes first
There is great flexibility with using a template where you can choose from many different styles and layouts. You can decide which section you think should come first on your resume – this could be your education section or your work experience etc.
Whichever section is most important to you is the one that you want the employer to look at first. So you can choose a template that already lists this section first or most prominently on the resume.
Or you can choose the template style and layout you like and change the section headings to suit your needs.
That is the beauty of using a flexible document to build your work and experience history – you can edit the template with MS Word, meaning the headings and layout isn’t set in stone.
In most cases, your name and contact details should be listed at the top of your resume and any extra added miscellaneous information and interpersonal skills should be saved for the end of your resume.
Your section heading acts as a short-cut so that the employer reading your resume can jump to the sections that they are interested in without having to read your whole resume.
Make your resume template generic – then tailor
Your resume template is a very handy tool because it tells you what information to list where. This is a great time saver in itself because it stops you from staring at a blank page and needing to start from scratch each time you need to re-write your resume.
Start by filling out each section of the template with your information based on facts. This will be easy to do with your education section because you will already know your schools and colleges, the dates attended and qualifications gained.
Depending on your career history, you may want to list your work experience in chronological order. If you have a long work experience record, you may not want to include every single employer you had since leaving school. Instead, focus on the most recent employment you have had.
Most employers will be interested in what you have been doing for the past 5 years in most cases, so you don’t need to go back 20 years into your history unless you have worked with the same employer for all this time.
Once you have filled out your resume template you can then use this as your base document. As each new job opportunity comes along, you can then go back to your resume template to tailor to suit the position that you are applying for.
This means that you will be saving yourself a lot of time not having to prepare a fresh resume for each new job application that you make.
Keep separate copies of your resume
Go to your basic resume template and save a copy that you will use with this job application. By doing this you will always have an original copy of your resume on file that isn’t tailored with the keywords and ‘company speak’ for one specific employer.
This will save you a lot of time and effort in the future because you will always be able to go back to your original basic resume content and make a fresh copy to edit. This is quicker than having to reverse all of your last modifications from your previous edit before tailoring it to the next employer.
Remember that by keeping separate copies of your tailored resume, you can go back and re-use a copy that you used before while applying for a similar job within the same industry – with a little more tweaking to match the new company keywords of course!
When tailoring – focus on keywords
When you see a job that you want to apply for, take the job advert and the job description and study it carefully.
Note down any industry keywords they use within the job description and try to pick up the tone of voice they use in their language. Use these keywords to tailor your resume text. It also helps to weave in some useful power words to help deliver your message.
Why it is important to tailor your resume
Always remember that it is important to pay close attention to the job description for each application you make.
Employers want to see that you have read and understood what is being asked of you in this role and that your skills match what they need.
By tailoring your resume content to match the information on the job advert and job description, you will be showing that you actually care about your presentation and are truly interested in the job. This will help to secure you more interviews and increase the chances of you landing a good position that has great prospects.
Here are some time-saving tips to help cut down on your procrastinating and get your resume written in double-quick time.
Challenge yourself to a time limit: When you want to tailor your resume for a new job application, challenge yourself to get it done in 20 minutes.
You can set a timer and decide on a reward for achieving your goal. This could be treating yourself to an ice-cream or an extra episode of your favorite show on Netflix.
You will be amazed at how quickly the promise of a reward can focus your mind!
Turn off your distractions: Turn off Facebook, Twitter, emails, the internet and your phone. Once you can focus on your resume re-writing tasks your mind will get into the zone. There will be nothing to break your concentration or interrupt your flow.
Break up long sentences and paragraphs: Use bullet points to highlight key skills and information. This saves you a lot of time because you will not need to write a lengthy descriptive text. Keeping things short and to the point is also useful for delivering your information as quickly as possible to an employer.
By using these tips you can not only save yourself a lot of time and effort with your resume re-writes and tailoring, but you can also speed up the task by cutting distractions and making the task more fun!