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How to Write Targeted Resumes and Cover Letters for Jobs

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One of the most critical keys to job search success is customizing each resume for the specific job that you are applying for. This type of targeting is a proven strategy that greatly increases the odds of getting called in for an interview. However, many job seekers find this process overwhelming and soon pile up 50 or more different resumes. Managing all of these can be cumbersome. Luckily, there is a better way to customize resumes and cover letters that will save you time and still get the results that you want.

Start with a Master

First locate or write a master resume. This is the resume that all the others will be based off of. It should include everything about prior jobs and accomplishments that you may possibly need for future job applications. This master is also the resume that you should update every six months or so as you gain new job skills or transition to new positions. You should also have a master cover letter.

Examine the Job Description

Once you find a job that you want to apply for, start by carefully analyzing the job description. Physically highlight each skill, software name or interpersonal characteristic that the job describes. In addition, look for keywords in the description, such as job or department titles and software.

Examine the Job Description | Vertical Media Solutions

Customize Your Master Resume and Cover Letter

Start the customization process by saving your master resume and cover letter as new files. When naming your new files, choose something related to the job that you are applying for so that you can identify them in the future.

Now look through the resume and identify the bullet points matching the highlighted parts of the job description. If something isn’t relevant, then delete it completely. Once you have done this, ensure that every keyword you identified in the job description is in the resume. In some cases, you may have used a synonym of the keyword. Replace the synonyms so that the keywords match perfectly.

Perform the exact same process with your cover letter, inserting items that are lacking, deleting unnecessary wording and adding in keywords.


Finally, edit your revised resume and cover letter just as thoroughly as the originals. Anytime you perform edits, you can accidentally insert misspellings, change formatting or any other number of things. Run a spell check as well as read through the documents from top to bottom. It’s a good idea to have one or two other readers review them as well.

How Many Versions of My Resume Do I Need?

How Many Versions of My Resume Do I Need?

In the end, you may still have quite a few resumes saved on your computer. However, you only really need that first master resume. All the other resumes are variations of the master and are only saved for reference purposes in case you get called in for an interview. By focusing on making simple changes to the master resume, job seekers can greatly simplify their job search and still tailor resumes for each employer.

How to Write Targeted Resumes and Cover Letters for Jobs

Whether you live in Michigan or around the country, the employment experts at Vertical Media Solutions can guide you toward a successful career change. Our personalized resume writing services are designed to deliver a flawless representation of your qualifications and professionalism. Learn how we can help today: 616-631-4300.

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