A Better Way to Apply for Jobs

When submitting your resume and cover letter for an open position, one size does not fit all. If you’re applying for different jobs all in the same field, it’s tempting to mass-distribute your resume and cover letter and be done with it. After all, they’re similar positions and your skills haven’t changed . is not customizing really going to impact your prospects?

In a word: Yes. Even positions within the same field emphasize different requirements, so your resume and cover letter should reflect that. Taking a little more time to create a customized resume and cover letter for each application you submit can get you noticed and push you to the front of the pack.

So how should you go about customizing your resume and cover letter? Follow these simple tips to make customization a quick and painless experience.

Make Templates

Yes, you should customize each resume and cover letter you send out. But that doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch each time.

Make it easier on yourself by creating a master resume template and a master cover letter template. This way, when you find a job you want to apply to, you’ll already have a decent head start on the writing process.

What sort of information should you include in your templates? You’ll want to start with information that doesn’t change, such as your schooling history, previous jobs, start dates and end dates. You can keep your job descriptions, awards and achievements somewhat vague to make them easier to customize for specific jobs.

Customize By Type

Depending on what kind of position you’re looking for, it might be possible to make multiple resume templates that you can customize by type of position.

For instance, if you’re looking for nursing positions and have experience in both med-surg and trauma, it’s a good idea to make separate resume and cover letter templates, each emphasizing the skills you used for a particular specialty. That way, when you find a med-surg job you love, you can reach for the appropriate resume and cover letter templates. You may want to make a few tweaks or it could be ready to go as is, saving you a ton of time.

Similarly, if you list your goals on your resume, you can edit them to emphasize different strengths that will appeal to different job types.

Some job boards, like ADVANCE Healthcare Jobs, allow you to save multiple versions of your resume and cover letter for quick access. This makes submitting a customized resume and cover letter even easier.

Focus on Verbiage

You’ve found your dream job. You pull out the appropriate templated resume and cover letter . now what? What exactly are employers looking for?

Take a look at the job description and pull out keywords. If you can incorporate them into your customized resume and cover letter, you increase the odds of getting to the interview stage.

The average company receives between 50 and 75 applications for each open position, and some corporate job opportunities may receive more than 200 applications (CareerBuilder). To cut the fat, many companies use recruiting management software that screens cover letters and resumes for keywords. If your resume and cover letter reflects the skills, competencies and credentials requested in the job description, you stand a better chance of making it through the screening process and having a recruiter look at your materials.

Submitting a customized resume and cover letter to each position you apply for shows hiring managers that you put thought into your application. With a resume and cover letter that contains the right skills, experience and keywords, landing an interview is just around the corner.

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