On the fifteenth installment of Tristan’s Tips, our special guest Tristan Layfield relates a personal story to illustrate the importance of tailoring your resume to the job you’re applying for. He also shares a few rules to follow when tailoring your own resume.
Tristan: What’s going on, Living Corporate fam? It’s Tristan of Layfield Resume Consulting, and I’ve teamed up with Living Corporate to bring you all a weekly career tip. This week, let’s talk about why tailoring your resume is so important. Let me tell you a quick story. When I got fired from my first job out of college in 2011, I was frantically looking for employment. I created a resume, had someone look it over, and I went to work. I mean, I sent that same resume to well over 250 employers. I probably only heard back from about 30 of them, 25 of which were like, “Nah, fam, we’re good on you.” I didn’t disclose that I had been fired, so I knew it wasn’t because of that, but at the time I couldn’t pin down the reason why. Looking back on it, I realize that it more than likely was because I was sending the same generic resume to every company no matter what industry or role it was for. Had I known what I know today I would have been more strategic, but we all know hindsight is 20/20. Before your resume is ever seen by human eyes, it is more than likely scanned by what the industry calls an ATS, or Applicant Tracking Software. This software scans your resume for key words and phrases then assigns you a percentage. If that percentage isn’t higher than the threshold set by the employer, then you’re automatically thrown into the “no” pile no matter how qualified you may actually be. To take it a step further, studies show that recruiters look at your resume for about 6 seconds–count ’em up, 6 seconds–before deciding if you’re moving on to the next step in the hiring process. You have to increase your chances by giving them the information they want to see. The way you do that is by tailoring your resume for each job that you apply for. So here are some general rules. Do a quick review of your resume and take out any expired licenses and certifications, jobs with no transferrable skills to the role you’re seeking, skills and duties that don’t apply to the position that you’re trying to land, and trainings that have no role in this job. Then you want to work on replacing them with new and relevant experience that you’ve gained, key words that you identify from the job description, transferrable skills and expertise that would be useful in any industry, and applicable trainings, licenses, and certifications. Tailoring your resume helps to ensure that you at least have a fighting chance to make it past that Applicant Tracking Software and be seen by a recruiter. After that, you have to make sure that your resume is selling you appropriately to make it to that next step. This tip was brought to you by Tristan of Layfield Resume Consulting. Check us out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @LayfieldResume, or connect with me, Tristan Layfield, on LinkedIn.