You’ve heard that you should tailor your résumé and cover letter to each company that you apply to, right? If you’re like a lot of job seekers, when you heard this, you probably thought, “But that’s going to waste a lot of time … can’t I just write a single résumé and cover letter to represent myself for all of the jobs I’m applying for?” Absolutely not—and here’s why:
Hiring managers read hundreds of cover letters and résumés every day. A large majority of the people applying for those positions don’t even read the job descriptions or application requirements in their entirety. Instead, they simply upload their stock résumé and cover letter and click “Apply”. They spend no time thinking about whether they have included all essential materials and information, or even if they are qualified for the position.
You can set yourself apart just by ensuring that you’ve fulfilled all of the application requirements. If you go a step further and tailor your cover letter to address the specific requests in the job posting, you will immediately show your potential new employer that you were paying attention and that you are a viable candidate for the position.
Furthermore, you should also showcase the specific skills and experience asked for in the advertisement on your résumé. This shows that you have not only read the job posting and its requirements but also that you have the knowledge and experience required to do the job. Believe it or not, most people do not do this when applying for jobs online.
For example, we recently posted a position on LinkedIn for a certified résumé writer. Almost immediately, we had twenty applicants. Of those twenty, only two were actually certified, and only one of those two bothered to read the advertisement and supply writing samples. In other words, we may have had twenty applicants, but we had only one viable candidate.
This is just one illustration of what happens when job seekers get in a hurry to “get a job”. Submitting the same resume to every job posting in your field will not land you a job; it will only waste employers’ and recruiters’ time. In fact, it also wastes your time, as well. Instead of spending all that time clicking “Apply” to every ad you see, focus on the ones you’re really qualified for, and tailor your résumé and cover letter to them. You’ll see much better results.
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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