How to Optimize Your Resume for a Specific Position

Job seekers may find the thought of tailoring their resume for every position they apply for exhausting. This can certainly be a daunting task, especially if you have not identified a general focus for your career. However, remember your resume should be a brief account of your education, qualifications, and experience that relates to the position you are seeking. Here’s a strategy to consider before you put everything about your career into one document and leave it to the employer to sort out:

Identify Your Target Position
If you are entering a new career or feeling a little rusty with the job search process, I recommend using career resources to identify general qualifications for positions of interest. You can start with O*NET  OnLine and the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which are both resources sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor with detailed job descriptions used by job seekers and human resource professionals alike. Here you will find the core skills, knowledge, and abilities to include to bring focus to your resume. Additionally, use job boards to research related positions and identify common themes and keywords. Take your research a step further by exploring employer websites and their various social media channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram to get an insight on their values and how they coincide with yours.

Incorporate the Language of the Employer
After completing your research, take an inventory of your skills, knowledge, and experience that are relevant to the positions you are seeking. Begin your resume with a one-to-three sentence profile statement to summarize your career, and highlight what you have to offer as it relates to the position. Arrange the order of the sections on your resume to include the most relevant content first. If you are a recent graduate transitioning into a new career, this could mean starting with your education section first. Finally, revise the content of your resume to match the language of the position descriptions to highlight your strengths as a potential candidate.

For more insights and resources on how to optimize your resume, watch a recording of the webinar “Tailoring Your Resume to a Target Career.”

Remember that UMUC’s Career Services is here to support you. To access our tool, advice, and job board, or to connect with a career adviser, please visit CareerQuest.

Cathy Francois, MBA, GCDF is a career advising specialist and adjunct instructor at University of Maryland University College and a certified Global Career Development Facilitator. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Florida and a Master of Business Administration from Kaplan University. Cathy’s career began in advertising sales and customer service, after which she transitioned into higher education, working as an admissions advisor. She also served as an academic advising and career services for over seven years. Cathy has a passion for helping people succeed and uses her diverse experience and interpersonal skills to bring a personalized approach to career coaching.