Some tech professionals make the mistake of writing one resume and using it to apply for every job. If you want to land the best job opportunities, you need to take the time to customize your resume to each specific position. But how can you customize your resume in a way that puts you in the best possible light?
Before we begin, let’s suggest that every resume have the following sections:
- Summary or Objective Statement: While not every tech applicant includes this section, a few sentences at the top of the resume that describe your professional goals can help persuade a hiring manager or recruiter that you’re right for the job.
- Education: Your education section isn’t just the place to list your formal degree; you can also use it to highlight relevant coursework and certifications.
- Skills: Your skills section should list your relevant skills.
- Experience: Your experience section will break down your previous jobs, including your most consequential projects and results.
With that, let’s break down some ways to customize your resume for best results!
Start with the Job Description
Note the keywords and phrases used to describe the position. Pay particular attention to the employer’s desired skills, especially the ones you know. You’ll want to insert those into your resume—and place them in a prime position in your skills section. (Also: Many companies use automated resume screening software that will reject resumes that don’t mention at least some of the skills in the original job description.)
Focus on Relevant Skills and Experience
Some job candidates make the mistake of designing a “generic” experience section that they never change, no matter what job they apply for. Instead, pay attention to the job requirements. In your resume’s experience section, make sure you mention the experiences and projects directly relevant to what your potential employer wants. For example, if the job wants a mobile developer, your experience section should focus intensely on all your previous mobile work. (Also, make sure to weed out outdated skills on your resume.)
Show Your Impact
In your experience section, every bullet-point should mention the impact of your efforts. Did your work on an app help boost the company revenue? Did your teamwork contribute to your division overcoming a previously unsolvable challenge? Show how you mattered—with numbers, if possible.
For instance, if you’re applying for a software developer job at a company spending quite a bit of resources on artificial intelligence, devote your experience section to all the ways you’ve worked with generative A.I., machine-learning models, and more. If you’re totally new to the tech industry, you can use school and personal projects to highlight your skills in lieu of work experience.
In addition to the above tips, always remember to:
- Keep things concise: Hiring managers won’t give your resume more than a few seconds on the first pass; you need to convey as much information as possible, as quickly as possible.
- Get a reader: A second or third pair of eyes is always necessary. They’ll catch things you missed, even if you’re reviewed your resume repeatedly.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread: A spelling mistake could sink your chances.
- Don’t get cute: Just convey the basic information (and use power verbs)!
- Your resume is just one part of the equation: Have you customized your cover letter? Is your portfolio and code repos up-to-date? Make sure your application “package” is always as good as it can be.