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Tailor Your Resume Without Starting From Scratch

By Anthony Balderrama

Job hunts are hard work. Looking through job ads, going on interviews and networking take up a lot of your time. So how can you be expected to do all these things and still rewrite your resume every time you apply for a job?

Well, you are expected to because generic resumes don't impress anybody and surely won't land you a job.
Luckily, you don't have to start with a blank page each time you want to send out your resume. The key is to edit and rearrange your existing resume so that it appeals to the employer and saves you time. To make the process a little easier, we've listed some tips for you.

Keep track of your accomplishments.
Rearranging and editing your qualifications is simple if you keep a running list of your accomplishments and skills as you accrue them.

Keep an updated list of specific work accomplishments and outcomes you've achieved to make targeting your resume easier, suggests Dave Gammel of High Context Consulting. As you take on additional roles or lead projects, "create a spreadsheet with the outcomes, job title and employer, plus any other info you want to track them with."

Read carefully.
Applying for a job requires careful reading of the job posting. Many job seekers simply submit a generic resume and fill out the application as though employers will be happy to have someone apply. The truth, however, is that they don't want to hire just anybody -- they want the perfect fit. If you send a resume that shows how your qualifications mirror the requirements on the posting, you'll grab their attention.

The easiest way to do this is to sort through your list of accomplishments and decide which ones are relevant to the position. Once you've established your top accomplishments and skills, use them as the foundation to build your resume, Gammel says.

The rest of the resume will fall into place because some of the information cannot be deleted or altered. For example, your education history is going to be the same regardless of where you apply, but it might be at the top of one resume and at the bottom of another. Depending on how important it is compared to your skills and experience, you can simply drag the information and drop it in place.

Start strong.
In your career summary or career objective, include the job title that's listed on the posting, suggests Kevin Donlin, author of "The Simple Job Search Manifesto."

The "key is to make the first words on your resume match the title of the advertised job. This creates an instant rapport between you and the hiring manager," Donlin says. If you have experience in that position, it can put the reader in the right frame of mind to view the rest of your resume as a convincing case to consider you for the job.

Be a pack rat.
Each time you submit a resume that's tweaked a little from a previous version, save it as a different file and note what job it went with. Yes, you'll end up with several copies, but as you read new postings, refer to similar resumes you have on file so you have less to edit. You might be able to make some very minor adjustments before submitting it.

Although altering your resume each time you apply for a job can be frustrating -- or just plain boring -- it's a necessary step to landing an interview and ultimately a job. One of the benefits of tailoring your resume is that it allows you to assess how much of your background and skills will be utilized in the position, perhaps giving you a good idea if it's the kind of job you actually want.

 "Putting a bit of extra effort can pay off big time and is very reasonable when trying to find a position that is going to occupy most of your waking hours!" Gammel declares.

Copyright 2008 All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authority.

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