06 Sep Resume Secrets Unlocked

Have you ever wondered what makes a resume tick?

Why are some resumes successful while others simply lie around on someone’s table until being discarded?

How do we guarantee that someone would look at a resume or find value in a resume?

Customization Is Key

A resume is not simply a document informing the potential employer of who you are. It is a document that needs to be customized to fit a job description. More importantly, it needs to be able to stand out from the rest by being more than just responsive to a job description.

A successful resume is able to address the main concern of the organization. This may not be directly stated in the job description and may require reading between the lines to be able to do so.

Resume/application customization is becoming increasingly important now that most resumes and applications are stored in an employer’s resume database or applicant tracking system (“ATS”).

Take the example of an IT role. Its keywords can be as varied as these three.




When carefully done, customizing your resume should ensure that the ATS recognizes that you are a fit. With the right keywords for the opportunity included in your resume, the ATS should make your resume visible to the people doing the resume screening.

More importantly it shows the human reviewer – in less than 10 seconds – that you are qualified for the job and deserve further consideration.

Customize Your Resume in 5 Steps

Don’t be discouraged or intimidated!

Customizing your resume does NOT mean a complete re-write of your resume for each opportunity. But, it does mean taking a little more time than simply using spell check.

Before you start, analyze the job description

Carefully read the job description. Observe:

  • The job title used in the description
  • The duties and responsibilities
  • The specific requirements of the job
  • the job’s location

Take a look at the description.


A standard introduction paragraph in the resume may look like the following:

Excerpt 1

As you can see, the resume is neither on point nor effectively answering the advertisement. This is a common error among many who send one size fit all resumes to every job description that they see. A prospective employer would therefore find that the above resume may not be so relevant to the job posting.

However, a simple 5-Step customization would do the trick of making it more relevant and hence effective.

Step 1. Tweak the Job Title

Customize the job title by ensuring that it matches the one in the job description.

Excerpt 2

Excerpt 3

Step 2. Change Your Tagline

A tagline is very important as it seeks to align you to the gist of the job and allow the organization to see you as the best fit immediately off the bat. An effective tagline would pay attention to the strategic gist of the job description.

For the job description given, there is a clear focus on IT marketing to reach out to Gen Y. Looking at the job description also reveals other strategic thrusts as seen below underlined in yellow:


The three strategic thrusts are thus the following:

  • Reaching out to younger generation
  • 5+ years of IT Supervisory position
  • Integration of IT infrastructure components

This will result in a tagline like the following:

Excerpt 4

Step 3. Rewire your write-up

The write-up needs to again touch on the points mentioned in the job description. This would ensure that the employer sees both relevance and reflection of the job description. This will allow the write up to have more impact.

This is done by including keywords in the job description to show that you are familiar with the industry and the buzzwords that are used:

Excerpt 5

Let us again study the job description and pick out some of the key requirements, they are underlined in yellow:


The following are items that are picked out from the job description:

  • Project management
  • Integration of IT infrastructure
  • Leverage on existing to start new accounts
  • Reach out to the younger generation
  • Strategic planning
  • Quality control
  • Team management

Utilizing these keywords, the write up will be tweaked to the following:

Excerpt 6

Step 4. Match Core Competencies

Based on the responsibilities presented in the job description, the following need to be included in the core competencies:

  • Network configuration
  • Project management
  • System strategy and architecture
  • Client relationship management
  • Technical infrastructure

Studying the existing core competencies the following need to be taken out as they are not as relevant:

Excerpt 7

A more aligned and hence more effective core competency segment would be the following:

Excerpt 8

Step 5. Tweak accomplishments to be more specific to industry

Many times highlights and accomplishments are included like the one below:

Excerpt 9

As can be seen, while impressive, it again needs to be tweaked to be more effective and relevant to the advertisement. A better highlight and accomplishment in response to the advertisement would be the one below:

Excerpt 10

Customization done!

The rest of your resume probably needs little, if any, customization – a standard work history chronology should be fine otherwise. So, the customization you have done has probably not taken you very much time, but it will have a good payoff.

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