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Why You Shouldn’t Write A ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ Resume

Why You Shouldn’t Write A ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ Resume

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Today I am going to debunk a common misconception on effective resume writing: the resume magic that will solve your keyword problems for passing Applicant Tracking Systems (“ATS”) once and for all.

Related: Does Your Resume Get Along With Your Personal Brand?

Recently, one of my clients forwarded to me about 15 job postings he was interested in. While this alone might already seem a bit lavish (I generally only request two to three job postings for my writing process), the client asked me to include “all the relevant keywords” from these job postings into his resume. Neither would I have been able to do this, nor did I feel like doing this. Why? Because it would not have served the purpose of my client: getting job interviews.

Individualizing is the key

I might be stating the obvious, but the above-mentioned example is not a rare encounter for me. Many job candidates want a “one-size-fits-all” solution for their resume. A skilled resume writer can, of course, draft a stellar “master document resume” that will work for many job hunting scenarios (career events, professional networking events or referrals, etc.), but particularly when candidates are applying through online job-boards they, or their writer, will have to customize the resume to address the potential keywords in a desired density to achieve a high ATS ranking.

Think about the fashion industry

Think about a fashion event for a second. Two guys want to impress a designer at that event and convince her to give them a job. The one wears a modern suit from a big-box store at the mall, whereas, the other guy prepared for the night and had a local tailor design a customized suit inspired by the current fashion style of the designer. No need to say which one would impress the designer more, right?

Seems superficial? I agree, but superficiality during an online application process is even worse than in my fashion example. During this process you don’t even get through to the “designer” (HR, hiring manager or recruiter), but you will be filtered out by computer software if you don’t have the look.

Just like our eager candidate above catered for the preferences and likings of the designer by customizing his outfit, you will have to customize your resume if you want the optimum chances of scoring high in an ATS ranking. No resume “one-size-fits-all resume magic” there.

Just give it a go

I challenge you to just give it a try with job postings that catch your attention. Do the hard work of reading, analyzing and studying the job posting carefully and drafting your resume accordingly. Try to address and mirror every point mentioned in the description to show that you are “the one.”

So, stop looking for the one magical solution for your resume, and get going with the hard work. You should not have to wait too long to see a serious improvement in your response rate! Let me know how it went.

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Tim Windhof

About the author

Tim Windhof is a published and enthusiastic Resume Writer and Career Coach who is fascinated by helping people take their careers to the next level. Tim is a resume expert and educator for the American Writers and Artists, Inc. and their Resume Writer Training program. Tim has written interview-yielding resumes for clients from the US, Canada, India, Australia, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.

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Tim Windhof Tim Windhof is an experienced Career Strategist, who loves helping people to take their careers to the next level. Tim is a certified resume writer (CPRW), Career Coach and certified Human Resources Professional. He operates his company, Windhof Communications LLC, out of the Greater Columbus Area in central Ohio.