Conventional wisdom says you MUST customize your resume for every job you apply to, but is that right?
They asked 273 recruiters and hiring managers, “How closely does a resume need to match the [job] description to warrant a next step with you?”
As you can see in the chart below, only 20% of the responding recruiters and hiring managers want perfection:
80% are willing to deal with reality.
Thus, if you’re in a time crunch, send your resume whether it’s a perfect match for the job posting or not. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you’re a good fit, you have a four in five chance of that being OK.*
*Do consider your market. If it’s hot, and candidates are hard to find, recruiters will be more flexible than if they’re deluged with near-10s.
Much of the “always customize” advice was published during the Great Recession and hasn’t been updated.
Increase Your Odds of Success
When not customizing, you’ll up your odds of success if your resume has already been written to give recruiters:
2. In a format that’s easy for them to read on desktop, laptop, and mobile.
The survey revealed that 59% of respondents read resumes on their phones. Learn more here about optimizing your resume for mobile readers.
You can see sample resumes that demonstrate these principles here.
What to Customize
If you don’t want to risk the other 20%, but time is short, focus on getting the posting’s keywords into your resume. This matters because recruiters search their applicant tracking systems (ATS) on keywords.
An Even Better Approach
However, rather than using your time to customize your resume, double down on getting it to a person who can refer you to the hiring manager or recruiter.
The survey found that referrals (55%) are the respondents’ best source of top candidates – not the ATS (22%).
If reaching out to people feels scary to you, then relax. It’s made EASY with these 24 phone networking scripts. They cover just about every situation you might encounter.
Prioritize Your Time
You can waste a lot of time following unsubstantiated “advice” on how to conduct your job search. Always ask yourself about the source of the advice and the best return on your limited time. Then set smart priorities.
On that note, I particularly like Kimberly’s study because it was done to collect answers to real questions that job seekers ask and then generously shared beyond RiseSmart’s client base. Thank you, Kimberly and RiseSmart!
I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Save time. Get hired. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Featured by: SmartBrief
Image Courtesy of Alexander Solodukhin
Updated: May 2017
© 2016 – 2017, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.