Careers

Why you should be creating a unique resume for each job application

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Once you've finished crafting your resume, it would be nice to think your work is done. You've triple-checked for spelling errors, picked the right font and feel ready to apply to any job.

But according to experts in human resources and online job hunting, you're work isn't over just yet. Customizing your resume each time you apply to a new type of role or to a new company can help you stand out from other applicants.

"It's a job seeker's best bet," says Brie Weiler Reynolds, senior career specialist at job search website FlexJobs. "I've heard the same advice over and over from recruiters who spend their days reviewing resumes looking for the best candidates."

How to make your resume stand out 

Here's what Reynolds and others suggest: Start by creating one resume that features all of your work experience, skills and certifications. This will be your "master resume." Then, make a copy of it and adjust it depending on either the role of the job, or the company, she suggests.

"This doesn't mean you have to recreate the resume in its entirety," says Paul Wolfe, SVP of human resources at job search site Indeed, "but you can make subtle changes according to specific roles."

Adjust the wording and what parts of your work you highlight so that it aligns with what the job posting entails. For example, an entry-level videographer should have three slightly different versions of her resume that showcase different abilities for jobs in video shooting, editing or producing.

When you should definitely customize your resume

Of course, you don't have to change your resume every time you apply to a job, especially if the jobs you are applying to are very similar. But in certain instances, recruiters and hiring managers say it will significantly boost your chances of scoring an interview.

If you find a job listing that really excites you, don't hesitate to put extra effort into making a custom resume, says Scott Dobroski, community expert and director of communications at salary and jobs website Glassdoor.

"Get specific," Dobroski says, "Take the time to customize your resume for what the employer is looking for and make clear how you would be a fit for that role, and why."

Those looking to make a career move should also make sure to adjust their resume to showcase how their skills translate to other industries.

Wolfe suggests you "highlight your work experience in a way that makes sense for the new role."

For example, an academic researcher looking to work as a business analyst should make a resume that looks totally different from the one he would use to apply to academic jobs, taking time to show how his research skills are transferable to other areas.

"Once you get the hang of it, it's actually not as much work as people imagine," Reynolds says.

"Yes, you'll probably apply to fewer job listings overall," she adds, "but your applications will be far more likely to be effective in getting chosen for interviews."

Check out some of the most creative resumes ever.

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