Over 80% of job listings require, or strongly prefer, relevant professional work experience.
This means your resume job description needs to provide what the hiring manager is looking for. If it doesn’t, you won’t get an interview.
The problem is that most job-seekers only create one resume that they send out with every application. This saves time but the same resume is unlikely to satisfy the requirements of all the jobs you’re applying to.
To get more job interviews, you need to tailor your resume to each position. This article will show you exactly how to do that so you can increase your chances of landing your dream job.
What is a resume job description?
Your resume job description section is where you list your work history. Begin with your most recent job and work your way backward, listing previous positions in reverse chronological order.
This section is the most important part of your resume because it tells hiring managers whether you’re qualified for the role you’re applying to.
Your job description should contain the following:
- Job title
- Company name
- Company location
- Dates of employment
- Job responsibilities
- Measurable accomplishments
Your job responsibilities are the duties you’re expected to perform. They include things like answering phones, writing articles, managing a team, handling customer complaints, selling products, and entering data.
But a powerful resume job description doesn’t stop at listing job responsibilities – it also provides measurable accomplishments.
A measurable accomplishment is an achievement that you can describe with numbers or metrics.
While job responsibilities tell hiring managers what you did, measurable accomplishments tell them how well you did it.
Here are some examples of measurable accomplishments:
- Increased sales revenue by 25% in the first half of the year.
- Reduced customer complaints by 40% over a 12-month period.
- Led a team that completed a project 3 weeks ahead of schedule.
- Improved operational efficiency, resulting in a 15% reduction in costs.
- Grew the company’s social media following by 10,000 users in just 6 months.
It’s always a good idea to use bullet points to describe your responsibilities and accomplishments. This breaks down your information into easily-scanned digestible chunks.
Begin your bullet points with action verbs. These highlight your hands-on experience and make your resume more interesting to read.
Here’s an example of what a resume job description should look like:
The goal of your job description is to be concise and scannable while providing enough detailed information to give the hiring manager a good idea of your experience and skills.
Why should you tailor your resume job description?
When you send in your resume, it goes right into an ATS database. Hiring managers search the database for suitable resumes by typing keywords into the ATS search bar. These keywords are usually job titles and the skills needed for the job.
If your resume contains these keywords, it will be seen by the hiring manager. If your resume doesn’t contain these keywords, it will remain hidden in the database.
The point is this: The keywords a hiring manager will type into the ATS search bar will vary from job to job. By tailoring each resume for the specific job you’re applying to, you’ll increase the chances that a hiring manager will find it and offer you an interview.
How do you find relevant keywords?
At this point, you might be wondering, “How do I know which keywords the hiring manager will search for?”
The answer is simple. You can find the keywords in the job listing.
To tailor your resume, first read the listing of the job you’re applying to. Highlight the skills that are mentioned most often. Then, if you have those skills, add them to your resume.
There’s only one problem: Tailoring each resume takes time and effort. Which is why most job seekers don’t do it.
How to tailor your resumes faster and more effectively
There are now online tools available that make tailoring each resume much easier.
For example, Jobscan’s resume scanner uses AI-powered technology to analyze your resume against the job listing. It then tells you exactly how to tailor your resume for that particular job.
Jobscan’s resume scanner works like this:
Step 1: Paste your resume into the scanner:
Step 2: Paste the job listing into the scanner.
Step 3: Click “Scan” or “Power Edit” (Premium users only).
The scanner runs over 30 checks on your resume and presents you with a score. The score tells you how well your resume is optimized for that particular job.
You’ll also learn exactly which keywords you need to add to your resume to increase your score.
Here’s an example of a score and keyword suggestions:
The keywords with red circles are missing from this resume. By adding them, you’ll boost your score.
For even faster resume optimization, try our Power Edit feature (available to Jobscan Premium users). Power Edit uses advanced AI technology for a smarter, more streamlined resume-tailoring experience.
For example, Power Edit can show you how to seamlessly integrate missing keywords into your resume. Just click on a missing keyword and you’ll be presented with multiple phrase suggestions you can choose from:
7 tips for for tailoring your resume
Writing a tailored resume job description that gets past the ATS and attracts recruiters is achievable. Here’s how you do it:
1. Use the top half of your resume’s first page
Together with your contact information and resume summary, your job description is one of the first things recruiters and hiring managers read in your resume.
Since recruiters only spend around seven seconds before they either rule you out or move you to the next round, it is imperative that you put your job description section in the top half of your resume.
2. Check the specific job listing of the position
Go line by line through the job listing and ask yourself these questions:
- “Does my resume job description section clearly state that I can do what’s required of this role?”
- “Am I using the same language found in the job listing?”
- “Have I highlighted any achievements or experiences that directly align with the key responsibilities or qualifications mentioned in the job listing?”
By doing this, you might find missing skills and keywords you should try adding to your resume to make it less generic.
3. Be specific
You need to tell the hiring manager exactly what you did at your previous or current employers. The best way to do this is to be specific.
Begin each resume job description with essential information about the job and company: your official job title, the name and address of the company, and the period in which you worked there.
4. Match skills and keywords from the job listing
Mirroring the language, keywords, and buzzwords found within the job listing is the easiest way to demonstrate you’re a better match than the competition.
To ensure that your resume can be found in the ATS, take words from the job listing and strategically place them in your job description and other resume sections.
But make sure you don’t stuff your resume with too many keywords.
5. Write your job title clearly
Recruiters will first search for people who have done the job before, so list your job titles clearly.
If you haven’t held the job before, mention it as part of your resume summary. Match your job title to the one in the job listing when possible.
6. Quantify your achievements
Be selective about what you include. Place an emphasis on accomplishments over job responsibilities.
Use numbers and action verbs to describe your role and responsibilities. Numbers show how well you did your job. Action verbs make your resume more vibrant and interesting to read.
7. Do not lie
Emphasizing or deemphasizing your resume skills is not the same as lying on your resume (which we definitely don’t suggest).
Few applicants have every skill and meet every qualification. Tailoring your resume is about making sure hiring managers notice the ones you do have.
Examples of tailored resume job descriptions
In the examples below, the first part is the job listing with the relevant keywords highlighted. This is followed by a tailored resume job description for that listing. Finally, we’ll tell you why this job description works.
1. Sales manager job listing
Sales manager resume job description
Why this resume job description works:
- It clearly and specifically outlines key responsibilities and top achievements.
- It used metrics to show how the candidate seeks to constantly improve their leadership and communication skills.
- It touches on the candidate’s experience with leading a sales team, which is a key attribute the company is looking for.
- It matches the keywords found in the job listing.
2. Accountant job listing
Accountant resume job description
Why this resume job description works:
- It uses number to show how the candidate was able to cut costs and develop internal controls.
- It mentions which software the candidate knows how to use. Recruiters might filter candidates by specifying the type of software the company uses.
- It includes the keywords GAAP and FASB but also spells them out. This is smart because there is no knowing whether recruiters will filter their search using the long-form or the acronym of a specific skill.
3. SEO specialist job listing
SEO specialist resume job description
Why this resume job description works:
- It matches keywords with what is in the job description. Some of the relevant keywords are incorporated in the Content Writer experience.
- It quantifies achievements, like the increase in website traffic.
- Everything is well-thought-out, concise, and specific.
4. Executive assistant job listing
Executive assistant resume job description
5. Customer service job listing
Customer service resume job description
Why this resume job description works:
- It matches relevant keywords and skills found in the job description.
- It mentions that the candidate was Top Customer Service Representative of the year for five consecutive years.
- It includes a quantified key achievement.
How your resume job descriptions help you get more interviews
Here are three ways a well-written resume job description moves the needle in your job search:
- It establishes your credibility with prospective employers and shows them what you bring to the table.
- It is an advertisement for your abilities, experiences, accomplishments, growth potential, and career trajectory.
- It shows that when hired, you can immediately start the ball rolling without much hand-holding and training.
To increase the chances that your resume will be found by a hiring manager, make sure you tailor it to the listing of the job you’re applying to. Tailoring your resume takes time and effort but it’s definitely worth it.
To speed up the process, try an online tool like Jobscan’s resume scanner. It will tell exactly what to do to fully optimize your resume for each position.
Your resume job description is a critical part of your resume. Use this real estate to prove to recruiters that you have what it takes to do the job right. When creating your job descriptions, be sure to:
- Include quantified achievements and specific responsibilities.
- Tailor your work experience section to the job listing of the position you are applying for.
- Customize your resume for every job application you are submitting.
- Optimizing your resume to the specific job will help you get past the ATS and land your dream job.
- Try Jobscan’s resume scanner so you don’t miss out on the specific skills and accomplishments recruiters and hiring managers are looking for.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does it mean to tailor your resume to the job listing?
Tailoring your resume involves taking the skills and responsibilities in the job listing and incorporating them into your resume job description.
What is the best resume job description format?
Your resume job description should be in the reverse chronological order format. This means you start with your most recent job and work backwards.
How far back should your resume work experience section go?
For most industries, you can list the past 10 to 15 years of your work history on your resume.
How do you describe your work experience on a resume?
Include your official job title, the name and address of the previous company, and the time period in which you worked there.
What are technical, or hard skills, on your resume?
Hard skills are one of the most important resume keywords. These are technical skills learned through experience or training (e.g. project management, knowledge of software, data analysis). Match hard skills verbatim to the job listing when possible.
Which skills should you include in your job description for your resume?
Pay special attention to the skills mentioned first or multiple times. Start each new job entry with the skills and qualifications that are found in the job listing, even if they weren’t the most important part of your day-to-day responsibilities.
How do you tailor your resume for a career change?
Follow the same process of leading with keywords from the job listing in your career change resume. Chances are, many skills from your previous career will be transferable to your new one. Be sure to provide context and translate phrases to match the job listing’s preferred terminology when needed.
The summary section of your resume is going to be your best friend when seeking to change careers. This area of a resume is your opportunity to explain your expertise and how your existing skills will make you a great candidate for this new career.
How do you tailor your resume if you are a recent graduate with no experience?
What are other tips on how to tailor your resume to the job listing?
- A generic resume is about you while a tailored resume makes it about them (and they all want it to be about them).
- Using bullet points instead of big paragraphs on your resume will make your resume easier to skim.
- Use color on your section headings to enhance your resume’s appearance.
- Corporate recruiters prefer to see skills in context. If they see a skill on your resume, they need to understand how and why you used it.
- Describe your accomplishments using data when possible with dollar amounts, percentages, or other measurables to prove your effectiveness.
- Tailoring your resume is also about removing information that distracts from your top hard and soft skills. Look at every line on your resume through the lens of, “Is this necessary to prove I’m a great fit for this job?”
Get help tailoring your resume
Manually tailoring your resume takes a lot of work. That’s why Jobscan created tools that speed up this process.
With Power Edit, the most important skills and keywords missing from your resume update as you work.
Simply upload your resume, paste the job description, follow the keyword and formatting suggestions, watch your resume score go up, then export your tailored resume.
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