Ask LH: Should I Tweak My Resume For Each Role?

Dear Lifehacker, Should I change my resume? I’m currently using a basic resume template, but I’ve also looked at writing up a technical resume. While a technical resume would be no good for retail or customer service jobs (which is what I’m mostly applying for now), would it be worth writing a resume in that style for entry-level IT jobs? Thanks, Hunting Hard

Resume picture from Shutterstock

Dear HH,

I’ve reviewed hundreds of job applications over the years and my advice is to absolutely customise your resume and cover letter for every position to apply for.

Your cover letter and resume are the first thing a potential employer will know about you. If you can’t take the time to make them fit the job, why would your potential employer think you’ve got what it takes to work for them?

The approach I favour is to read the job ad carefully and look for the specific skills and experiences that the employer is looking for. In the cover letter, address each of these specifically. For example, if the position requires that you manage a team then use a phrase like “In my current role, I manage a team of five people” in the cover letter rather than relying on the employer discovering it in your resume.

With your resume, follow a similar approach, emphasizing elements of your work history that specifically address the position requirements. While it’s nice to list all of your professional accomplishments, make sure that those most relevant to the position are emphasised.

So, our resume 101 advice is to customise as a generic resume won’t get responses, especially for differing roles. Here are some more specific guides:

What Shouldn’t You Mention On Your Resume
How To Write A Resume That A Recruiter Will Notice And Love


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