Customizing your resume to the Job Description

Here at Kama Kazi we are in the business of getting people jobs, so believe us when we say we know the job seeking process and more than that the huge mistakes that job seekers make when applying for jobs.

And one of the biggest mistakes BY FAR is that very few people customize their CV to the Job Description.

Let us put this in context for you:

The employer has detailed out in perfect form exactly what they want in an employee. So why on earth would you not give yourself the best chance of getting into an interview by displaying on your CV what you have that matches that job.

Do I have to amend my CV for every application? is a question that we get over and over again, and the answer is a resounding yes, yes, yes!

So now that we have got that straight here are some tips on how to go about amending as necessary for the job you are applying for (HINT maybe do this for the next job you are applying for on Kama Kazi!!!)

  • Get the job description and read it very carefully a couple of times.
  • Write down the key skills & experience the company is looking for.
  • Make a list of all the things you’ve actually done in your career that make you a good fit. (Remember to think about skills from other industries or jobs that may be transferable too.)
  • Now go get your resume and put that in front of you too.
  • Look to see where your already-listed experiences might match with elements in the job description.
  • Note down those matching experiences.
  • Now think about things you’ve done in other jobs or elsewhere (volunteer, special projects, freelance) that are NOT yet on your resume. Add the strongest ones that really show why you would be an asset (match) to the new job.
  • Now go through your resume, editing and adding where needed to give more weight to your strongest matching items (remember to us the same key words or phrases as the employer has used in the job description), but also mentioning something even from years back if it might help. (This is also a good time to get rid of items that don’t match the job description – they just take up space on your CV)

An example of reviving an old skill: If you used Microsoft Power Point in 2012, but haven’t touched it since then, and IF the job description specifically mentions it, clearly let them know you have the skill both in your CV and cover letter. Just don’t lie about how good you are.  (Bonus points: Go ahead and brush up your skills ahead of time just in case. This shows initiative and the ability to easily pick up the skill again. Also makes great talking points in an interview or phone screen.)

Screen shot 2015-10-13 at 4.42.51 PM

  • If you use a Summary of Qualifications or similar section to lead off your resume (these are very useful), this is a great place to emphasize your strongest skills that match the job’s key requirements. (Also useful for your cover letter.)
  • Read the job description again. Now look at your entire resume. Have you made it easy for the employer or recruiter to see the match? If not, give it another shot and make sure to focus in on the strongest matching points, giving them extra emphasis.

Once you’re happy with what you have, of course now go back and check for typos, grammar, overall appearance, etc.  And there you have it! You have a customized resume that has a better chance of getting you that all-important first interview.