What does an employer look for in a resume? It depends on the role! Whether you’re applying for an IT job or a job in Accounting and Finance, it’s important that your resume shows you are the perfect fit for the vacancy by directly addressing the job ad. Tailoring your resume is necessary because it enables you to demonstrate why you’re the “answer” to the employer’s “problem”, and from our years of recruitment experience, we have seen how this extra bit of effort can lead to a drastic rise in the number of interviews a candidate can land.
If you have no idea where to start, we have put together a few tips on how to tailor your resume to a specific job and ultimately get the coveted opportunity to prove yourself in an interview.
Identify the Employer’s Priorities
Before writing your resume, thoroughly analyse the job ad or description and identify the specific keywords, points and phrases that are repeated throughout. It can be helpful to print the advertisement out and go through the text with a highlighter. When tailoring your resume, aim to show that you fulfil each of the requirements, and ensure you draw attention to the relevant qualities and experience that you possess.
Update Key Sections
Once you’ve studied the job ad, you can start writing a tailored resume and target the content to what the employer has asked for. There are two key areas of a resume that need the most time and attention – the “Summary” and the “Work History.” Let’s have a look at these two below:
The goal of a resume is to grab an employers’ attention from the get-go and ensure your application ends up at the top of the pile. The summary is the first thing an employer or recruiter will look at, so make sure each major point from the ad is covered in this section. Focus on personal attributes, skills and qualifications, and if all these are a match to what the employer is looking for, it will spark their interest and encourage them to read further.
Remember that your most recent role carries the greatest relevance, so list it first and ensure you highlight all applicable experience, skills and qualities gained during this job which can be transferred to the role applied for. You can also change the order of your work history slightly, or even leave unimportant information out if it makes the resume stronger overall. Don’t waste space on details that are irrelevant to the role – rather, focus on the roles and experience that relate to the job ad.
A well-written and tailored resume does not simply contain generic phrases such as “strong leadership skills” or “proven ability to multitask” – to make the greatest impact, it is crucial to provide strong evidence for every strength you mention.
A great way to do this is with your achievements, reinforcing them with figures, results, targets achieved and anecdotes from your experience. For example, IT candidates might include achievements such as “managed multiple IT Projects simultaneously, successfully meeting all requirements whilst reducing system downtime.” Meanwhile, professionals in Accounting and Finance jobs might say “supervised a team of four Accountants, and ensured all financial statements were accurate and completed on time.” Statements like these will put your relevant strengths front and centre, further emphasising your suitability for the role.
Before sending off your freshly-tailored resume, do one last check to ensure it is absolutely clear why you’re applying for the role. An outside perspective can help to pick up on anything that you may have missed or that can be rephrased, so don’t hesitate to ask a trusted friend, colleague, mentor or recruitment consultant to cast an eye over your application.
Your resume is your first point of contact with an employer, and as we all know, first impressions last! Tailoring your resume will help ensure there is no doubt that you are the person for the job. If you have achieved this, you can be confident that your resume will catch the employer or recruiters’ eye and have an opportunity to interview for the role.
The consultants at SustainAbility are specialists in Accounting, Finance and Technology recruitment in Sydney, and we’re always ready with advice on writing winning CV’s or to give you an example of a tailored resume for your dream job. Talk to the team today for helpful recruitment advice and job openings in your area.