How to Tailor Your Resumé to Different Jobs


Matching your CV to the job you’re applying for can help you stand out from others who send the same document to every employer.

This article was originally written by Sarah Leung for

When applying for jobs, the pressure to appear the most accomplished on your resumé sometimes takes precedence over appearing as the most qualified. The difference between the most accomplished and the most qualified individuals depends on the job.

Not all work experience applies to every job. Knowing how to tailor your resumé to different jobs can make a huge difference in landing an interview.

Finding the relevant skills for the job

A new job listing appears, and you want to send out your best resumé. It’s up to you to figure out which skills to write down. Your past and future employment fields do not need to match, but the skills need to be transferrable.

Consider the questions below:

  • Is this job listing similar to other jobs you had before?
  • Is your resumé outdated? When was the last time you added, removed, or revised details?
  • How passionate do you feel about this position?

Highlighting your most relevant experiences and their associated skill sets improves the look of your resumé.

For example, your retail experience offers important skills for jobs requiring public interaction. Listing those positions for other jobs that require such interactions will help.

An example of non-transferrable skills would be listing former custodial experience when applying to a programming position. Think about skill compatibility rather than how similar your past occupations were.

How to describe your experience on your resumé

You made a list of skills, and now the dreaded part arrives: time to put it on paper.

1. Formatting your experiences

Most jobs give workers valuable skills, and resumés showcase them. However, some skills have greater relevancy than others in job applications. When you list your experiences, and their corresponding skills, you don’t have to put them in chronological order.

You may consider creating a “functional resumé,” which categorizes skills by type, not recency.

When listing out your details, placing the most relevant skills together helps the employer focus on the most important qualifications.

2. Describing your experiences

Describe your work experience using positive characteristics. Continuing from the previous retail example, Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) offers a great guide displaying skills obtained through the retail and service industry.

According to TMU, some examples of transferrable skills from retail include:

  • Time management
  • Leadership
  • Self-reliance
  • Taking initiative
  • Customer relations

WorkBC offers a list of “action verbs” to use when writing about work skills (PDF warning). When discussing communication skills, use words like “addressed,” “collaborated,” and “promoted.”

Remember, skills comprise the key components of the experience. Displaying the skills earned on the job showcases greater importance than the job’s title.

3. Customizing each resumé

Not every job application requires heavy editing. Consider using one resumé template with all your experience, skills, and education. With a strong base, you’ll only need to make slight edits in most cases.

The format remains the same regardless of the job, so focus on highlighting the most important characteristics of each application. Remove, add, or revise as you see fit.

Remember to tailor your resumé to the job description and list any key skills and qualifications. Good luck!

Discussion8 Comments

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