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THE RIGHT FIT: Adjusting your Resume for a specific Job Posting

by Fatma Toufexief, Community Services Supervisor, The Elevate Project

When you apply for a job, chances are you’re competing with many (sometimes hundreds!) other candidates. Depending on the employer, your resume might go through an electronic scanning system (ie. applicant tracking system), or it might go to a human who is responsible for screening through a large resume pile.

Unfortunately, employers do not have time to interview every single applicant who is interested in the job, so they need to narrow down the pile to a smaller number. Which leads to one very important question: what can you do to make sure that your resume is noticed?

If you are applying for a position that has a Job Posting, follow these steps to stand out in a positive way:

  1. Read through the entire job posting. I know, it sounds obvious, right? In reality, most job seekers only skim the job duties and requirements before deciding if they want to apply or not. Take note of what the job duties are, and the requirements the employer is looking for. If you have 80% of what they are asking for, and you think you could reasonably do the job, then apply!
  2. Tailor your objective. At the top of your resume, include the exact Job Title and the Job Posting Reference # or ID # (if there is one). This will show the employer that you are focused and interested in this specific position.
  3. Highlight any repeated words. If any descriptive words (ie. passionate, organized, team player, etc.) come up more than once, chances are it means this is very important to the employer. Make note of the repeated word(s) and make sure to include the exact same words in your resume.
  4. Adjust your qualifications. This section of the job posting might also be called ‘What you have’, ‘What you need’, ‘Requirements’ or ‘Key Qualifications. Usually, this section will include education, past experience, technical skills, and/or soft skills (ie. personal qualities). Even if the requirement is something you consider obvious, remember that nothing can be assumed. If it’s not written down, the employer might think that you don’t have it. Go through the qualifications one by one. If you have the qualification, check that it’s included in your resume. If you don’t have it, see if you can include a transferable skill. For example, if the posting is asking for a technical skill that you don’t have experience with, you could write down other technical skills that you have and include a point that you are “effective with problem-solving and troubleshooting.”
  5. Read through the Job Duties / Role Description. Most job postings include a section that describes the position in more detail, and what you would be required to do in the role. Read through this line by line, and for each point ask yourself: Have I done this before? Do I know how to do this? If the answer is yes: try to think of examples to include in your resume. If the answer is no: think if there is anything similar that you have done before and try to include that point. If you can’t think of anything similar, move on to the next point.
  6. Remove points from your resume that are not relevant to the job posting. Did you use to work as a Manager and you’re now applying for an entry-level role? Do you have knife cutting skills but you’re applying for an Accounting position? Including points that do not match the needs of the job you are applying for will likely distract the employer from the relevant points.

Remember: the more time you spend adjusting your resume to the job posting at hand, the easier it will be for the employer to understand why you would be the right fit for this role.

For more information, job search assistance, workshops, resources, hiring events, and much more, visit

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