Why should you adapt your résumé to each job?

Posted by Carole Gerday

It is important - for both candidates and recruiters - that the key skills required for a given position clearly stand out on the resume. That's why we strongly recommend candidates to adapt their resume to each job they apply for. Let's get started!

As recruiters, we receive a huge amount of resumes every day for many different jobs. It goes without saying that unfortunately, the reading time allocated to each resume is often short. Therefore, it is important - for both candidates and recruiters - that the key skills required for the position clearly stand out on your resume. That's why we strongly recommend that you adapt your resume to each job that you apply for.

When looking for that “top candidate” for a client, the recruiter will often go through a pile of resumes. 

What will the recruiter look for?

The skills required by the client for a specific job.

What does the recruiter hope to find in your resume?

Exactly these required skills, relevant experiences, or transferable skills.

How do you know exactly what specific skills the recruiter is looking for?

By reading carefully and thoroughly the job description.

Yes, it’s that easy! And yet, many candidates completely skip this crucial step.


Analyse the job description

Start by highlighting all the skills and experiences you find in the offer: skills related to the job, skills related to the type of company, its size, the field of activity, the type of soft skills required also (e.g.: someone who can adapt easily, who can work in a discreet manner, who has strong communication skills, etc.) 

If you are applying for the right jobs, you should have a good majority of these skills. It is important that these skills clearly stand out in the first half of your resume.

In the same way, make sure the right keywords are clear and obvious in your resume. For example, technical terms related to your area of expertise, or specific terms related to a certain type of job: these, strategically put on your resume, will make a difference. Actually, just think of the fact that more and more companies are now using software robots to scan resumes and there too, the right keywords will clearly work in your favor!

Organise the order of your skills

Of course, we are not asking you to write a completely different CV for each time you apply to a job, nor to lie and add skills that you don’t have.

However, adapting the order in which you mention your skills on your resume, or re-arranging the descriptions of your tasks and responsibilities with the right keywords, is something that you should turn into a habit.

For example, consider a person who has as much experience as a Management Assistant than as an Office Manager, and who would be open to applying for both types of positions. Naturally, the keywords and specific skills will be different depending on the offer and the company: it would then be a smart move to adapt the resume in order to better match the position.

Perhaps you have arranged your skills on your resume in a chronological order by professional experiences, but one of them may have more connection to the job you are applying for, so it should be put first before the others. It will be up to you to evaluate the choice of keywords and the order in which you will state them on your resume, depending on the requirements of the offer you want to apply for.

Do not forget that the same goes for the cover letter: do not send a generic cover letter for all the jobs which you apply for, adapt it each time accordingly.

Adapting your resume is an important step. If, when reading your resume, the required key skills (or your transferable skills) are not clear to the recruiter, then you will be unlikely to receive a positive feedback on your application.


Good luck!

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Carole Gerday

About Carole Gerday

Born to deaf parents, Belgian Sign Language is my mother tongue along with French. I am what we call a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults).

My passion for foreign languages and different cultures inspired me to pursue translation studies in English-Chinese, and obtaining a Master's degree in Communications. I've had multiple academic and professional experiences in Belgium, as well as around the world; where I resided one semester in the US, one semester in Spain and three years in China. After a full and intensive training in coaching, I started to reflect on what would be my next professional step.

After assessing and considering all my transferable skills, I started contemplating a career in recruitment, and therefore contacted Rainbow Resources Group. Learning that the organization’s values are aligned with my own values reassured me in my decision to join the team. I am now a happy member of the team, discovering a real passion for my job as a recruitment consultant!

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