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When you sit down to apply for a job, you know you need a resume. And to make your application stand out, you have to tailor your resume to the job in front of you. But have you thought about what your resume is for?

The purpose of your resume is to show the employer that you can do the job well…because you’ve done it before.

You should tailor your master resume to the opening you have in front of you to make your application stand out. When you are doing this, this is your chance to make both major and minor edits to your resume to show you have done this kind of work before and to prove you’re capable of doing it at their level.

Major Changes to Make On Your Resume

Aside from making sure that your resume is up to date and grammatically correct, there are some steps you should take to polish your resume quickly.

For major edits, you may need to rearrange the order of the bullet points you highlight under each position. Remember that a hiring manager is going to scan your resume quickly, and they are going to read less and less as they go. So you need to have the accomplishments and responsibilities that they care about listed first.

You may want to rephrase your accomplishments. My pro tip here is to use the exact same language they use in the job listing for equivalent knowledge, skills, and responsibilities. If their job description says “3+ years experience directly tied to training, facilitation, and/or training development” and you have on your resume: “wrote and delivered training workshops,” then rephrase that as: “responsible for developing training and delivering training workshops.”

This kind of revising is especially key if, to the hiring manager, you think you will appear to be an “outsider” – from a totally different industry or type of work. The goal is to make your resume so that it is an apples to apples comparison for the hiring manager against their job description. It needs to be easy for them to see that you can do the work because you have done similar work.

You may need to delete some positions. If you have side gigs, part-time consulting work or jobs from long ago that have no bearing on the job application, then delete those to keep your resume as tidy as possible.

You should look at your achievements, certifications, and professional accomplishments section. Are there awards or industry-specific certifications that they won’t know or care about? Delete!

You’ll need to tailor your references to this opening. If you know someone who works there already, be sure and include them.