We hear it time and time again in our job search: “one application doesn't fit all”, “tweak your resume for each company”, and ‘tailor your application to land the job”. Perhaps you're left asking yourself, ‘yeah but – how', and it's a very good question indeed. Here's our step by step guide to help you tailor your application:
Research the job
Before you can make your application job-specific, you first need to know the details of the job. Look at the job ad for the listed requirements and skills – there may also be a personal specification to accompany the ad which can give you information on what kind of applicant the company is looking for.
If you're lucky enough to have a contact that told you about the opening, quiz them about what the company are looking for. If your investigative side is still curious, there should be a phone number or e-mail address on the company website, so don't shy away from contacting them. Alternatively, you can find a wealth of information on the company's website itself.
Be polite and introduce yourself when you make contact. Showing you have the initiative and ability to research the job can make a good impression.
Another handy hint you should bare in mind while researching the company is to also research the names of the hiring manager you need to send your application to. While it may be time consuming, handing a resume and cover letter addressed by name is much more personal and impressive for a hiring manager, especially if such information wasn't listed on any job advert. If you're not having any luck online, you shouldn't be affraid to ring the company directly and ask.
List the job requirements
Jot down the job requirements for the position you're hoping to apply for and then think about all the past jobs you've had that required the same skills. These experiences are the ones you should mention on your resume! Anything extra that doesn't link to the job requirements isn't worth listing.
It's important to do this every time you apply for a job. For some jobs you might only need to tweak your resume slightly. Other jobs might need a complete rewrite. Either way, it's worth the effort and can improve your chances of getting an interview.