1. Scan the job posting
This one is obvious. Don’t apply for an opportunity if you don’t know what you’re applying for. Start by quickly scanning through the job posting to see if it interests you. Check what the qualifications are and keep going if you meet approx. 60% of the experiences and qualifications listed (you do not need 100% of what they’re asking for).
2. Highlight 10+ keywords and phrases
Now review the job posting more thoroughly and take the time to highlight at least 10 keywords and phrases that pop out to you. This helps you recognize what some of the skills, experiences, and certifications that you should pay attention to and emphasize on your own application.
3. Tailor your resume
It takes time, but you need to modify your resume to fit the job posting keywords and phrases from the previous step. A one-size-fits-all resume will not cut it when there is so much competition out there (and chances are your application will not make it through the ATS scanners). Make sure you quantify results, outcomes, and accomplishments (not responsibilities).
Keep your resume to 1 page, bullet points to one line, and avoid writing in first person (more resume tips here)
4. Scan your resume draft
Check to see how your resume draft matches the job posting by putting it through an ATS Scanner like Jobscan which will help you optimize your resume. Here, you can see what your resume’s strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to the specific job postings that you’re applying to.
5. Tweak your resume
Based on the feedback of the ATS Scanner, make the appropriate changes to your draft. The goal is to be well targeted at the company and tailored to the JD. To boost your chances of success through a resume review or rewrite, you can get a second opinion through Resume Rescue which has helped 130+ people globally, and landed people jobs at companies like Amazon and Microsoft.
6. Brand your resume
At the basic level, make sure to use a great ATS friendly resume template with margins between 0.75 to 1 inch. To make your resume stand out to recruiters and hiring managers, you can also use company colours and fonts to demonstrate brand alignment. Check out Image Colour Picker for finding the colour HEX codes on the company website or search up their colour palette.
Unlock 5 Free Resume Templates
7. Save as a PDF
You should save your resume as a PDF because it looks more professionally put together. Although docx is usually fine, it can get messy since readers can easily make accidental edits or changes when they open up your file. Stick with a PDF unless the job posting requests otherwise.
8. Review it again
Sometimes your formatting may change once you download it as a PDF.
Make sure to open up the PDF file to make sure it looks like what you intended:
- Spelling mistakes
- Grammar (read bullets backwards and avoid writing in first person)
9. Check your links
You should hyperlink the following to make it easy for recruiters and hiring managers to contact you or visit your pages:
- LinkedIn profile
- Website URLs
However, make sure that your links work properly and don’t redirect to any 404 error pages.
10. Rename your document
A lot of people make the mistake of submitting a resume with the original file name, which can look really messy and unprofessional. It only takes you a few seconds to clean it up and show your keen attention to detail.
10 Step Checklist
- Scan the job posting
- Highlight 10+ keywords and phrases
- Tailor your resume
- Scan your resume
- Tweak your resume
- Brand your resume
- Save as PDF
- Review it again
- Check your links
- Rename your document
Finally, you’re ready to submit it. Best of luck with your job application!