6 Steps to a Customized Resume

Everyone knows that employers are awash in a sea of resumes. We all shudder at the horror stories of thousands of resumes that come in for a single job opening.

While things may not be quite that bad, there are some easy ways to optimize your resume to give it that custom look and feel.

Here are six steps to creating a resume that is a better fit for you and that perfect job you’re applying for:

1. Do your research

Chances are that you’ve been eyeing some jobs that are nothing short of the perfect match for you. If you haven’t found them yet, go look for them on the career board of your choice (Monster.com, Indeed.com, ZipRecruiter.com, etc.).

Find three to five of these perfect-fit jobs and print them out on paper.

2. Keywords

Now that you’ve found the jobs that charge up your career goals, pull out a highlighter and highlight the keywords in those job postings, paying close attention to the keywords that directly apply to you and your background. 

3. List your keywords

Take a good look at the keywords you highlighted. Did any of them show up more than once? Did a few of those keywords seem to run a common theme throughout the jobs you just analyzed? If so, perfect! List the most popular five to seven keywords on a sheet of paper. These are the words you’ll be optimizing on your resume. If your highlighted words did not strike a pattern, take another look at the jobs your outlined.

4. Use Those Words!

Take a good look at your resume. Are those five to seven keywords showing up prominently on your resume? Would you be able to find those keywords used in the first ten seconds that you look at your resume? Your goal is to ensure your keywords are used, in context, on the first page of your resume, preferably on the top half of the first page. If they don’t, you have some rearranging to do!

5. Measurable

Listing the words is one thing. To put some muscle behind those keywords, add some measurements with your keywords. For example, it’s good to list that you are skilled at customer service, but it’s stronger to state that you have eight years of customer service experience, assisting an average of ten customers per day, representing $100,000 of sales per year. Even if you’re not sure about the exact numbers, give a good, fair figure to help measure your keyword attributes and bring that skill to life.

6. Cover Letter

Don’t forget about your cover letter! Estimates show that only half of all applicants include a cover letter, and only a quarter of those cover letters are customized with job-specific keywords.



While these six steps are essential to optimizing your resume for your overall job search, this won’t ensure a ‘one size fits all’ resume. When you find the job posting that you’re really excited about, follow these steps for that particular job. Take 15 minutes to send a customized, made-to-order resume that will knock their socks off. For that special job, it’s worth the extra effort.