How to change your resume for each opening – 5 easy steps!

change your resume for every opening
You hear it all the time: “Change your resume for each opening,” but what does that mean and what should you do? 

Simply put, it means changing your resume to (honestly) match the job description as closely as possible. While this added step sounds labor intensive, it doesn't have to be and the results can be well worth the extra effort. Here’s how:

1) Add a bold headline near the top of your resume that matches the job description as closely as possible. 

So if the job description is for a communications director position in healthcare with a master’s degree preferred, (and you have that background), write:

Award-Winning Communications Director with MA in Communication and Significant Healthcare Communication Experience

Note that this headline should replace an objective statement and throwaway lines like “SUMMARY”.

2) Instead of, or in addition to, a summary, spit back the main requirements of the job description in order. Why? If you don’t, the resume reviewer has to wade through your whole resume to find out if you have the requisite background. So if the job description seeks …

job requirements
Repeat the job requirements back to them in order!

Spit back the requirements like this:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri (Top 5 U.S. Journalism school)
  • 8+ years of corporate communications management experience in healthcare
  • Proven record of excellent written and oral communications and editing skills. 5 national awards
  • Superior attention to detail with the ability to prioritize and multi-task
  • Creative thinker who excels at change management and who relishes building dynamic relationships with key decision makers at all levels

3) Add an alphabetical list of keywords that specifically relate to the position. So for example, for an accounting position, those keywords might be:

Strengths (Alphabetical): Account Reconciliation, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Cost Accounting, CPA, Financial Analysis, General Ledger, Microsoft Excel, P&L, Payroll Accounting, Spreadsheets, Tax Accounting, and Year-end Close (Bonus tip: Use the same keywords in LinkedIn profile, particularly in the Summary section and list them in your Skills & Expertise section).

Why put them in alphabetical order? If you don’t, resume reviewers will likely consider that the first strengths listed are your strongest ones and the latter ones are you weakest. By listing them alphabetically (and stating that it’s alphabetical), the resume reviewer will assume that you are good at everything that you mention.

4) Pump up your job titles to better match the position. So if your past position was called “Employee Communications Director,” but the job description seeks an “Internal Communications Director” (the same position), change your job title to Employee Communications Director (Internal Communications Director). 

In a similar way, use a parenthetical statement behind your real titles to explain that seemingly unrelated jobs in your past where actually much more aligned with the job opening than the resume reviewer might expect.  For example, I had a job at a nonprofit with the vague title “Mission Coordinator.” To strengthen the title, I added a parenthetical statement behind it that read: (Creative Director | Marketing Coordinator) since those terms better described what I really did.

5) Add duties and key accomplishments to your past job entries that you had performed, but hadn't mentioned. Err on the side of listing too many duties rather than too few. The extra duties that you list may be very well be the reason that a company selects you.

Customize your resume for every opening! The extra effort can help youGet a Job! – Kathy

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4 tips for researching a prospective employer

You just got off the phone with the manager of a local company, and you have a job interview set up for next week. Although you are excited about the possibility of full-time employment and steady income, you realize you’re not completely sure what the company does, who owns the business, and who their clients are.

As international recruiting firm, MRI Network notes, it’s definitely time to channel your inner Nancy Drew (or Hardy Boys) and do some detective work to find out more about your prospective employer. 

In addition to giving you a competitive edge by helping you competently answer questions during the interview like, “Why do you want to work for us?”, and "Tell me what you know about XYZ Corp.", researching a company ahead of time will help you evaluate any job offers that might be coming your way.

With this in mind, the following four tips can help you perform a thorough background check on the company:

Check out the company website

Since most businesses use their websites as a way to generate business, they are often chock-full of useful information about the company and what they do. 

Before you head to your interview, spend time on the company site reading about what services and products they offer, as well as browsing through any news articles and press releases that are posted to the company site. 

Many sites include “About Us” and/or “Meet the Staff” sections that feature biographies and photos of employees; this is a great way to familiarize yourself with the staff and maybe even get to know a bit about your interviewer ahead of time. 

Company websites may also have pages filled with helpful information for potential employees; for example, for people who are interested in working at LifeLock, the site lists the employee perks, current job openings and other great info.

Check out their social media pages

As HCareers notes, you should also check out the company’s LinkedIn page, which may give you more information about the key players in the business as well as their backgrounds. Knowing ahead of time where the managers worked may help you decide if you will get along well and will be a good fit at the company. Also, spend some time on the company’s Facebook page as well as any other social media sites; on Facebook you can read comments from customers as well as the company’s replies to them, and see what types of posts the employees make.

Check out

Since the company’s website and its social media pages will be controlled by the management and employees, the information may be overwhelmingly (unnaturally) positive. To get a more balanced view, spend time visiting review sites that offer more unbiased reviews. is a website that features more than 6 million company reviews, salary reports, CEO approval ratings, and much more. All of the information on the site is shared by employees or recent interviewees of the companies, which means you can get a great inside look at your potential employer by spending time researching the business on this site.

Check out Google

Another great way to learn more about a company is to simply visit Google and search for its name. This will probably bring up results like customer reviews and/or complaints, articles about the business, and other helpful information. The firm’s Better Business Bureau rating might also appear, which will provide you with valuable information about any customer complaints and how the company was able to handle them.

In conclusion, if you want to impress the hiring company, do your homework! Doing so can definitely help you ... Get a Job! -- Kathy

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Using LinkedIn to research companies

Keywords in your LinkedIn Summary are a MUST – learn why!

I recently learned what a tremendous (some would say unfair) advantage a LinkedIn premium account can provide for job seekers.   

One big reason that the Job Seeker Premium account is so advantageous is because it will reveal to job seekers the EXACT key words the job posters are seeking for their jobs. In addition, the system will tell you if you score high for the position (or not) so that you can adjust your key words in your Summary section and immediately show up as a more qualified candidate. 

In fact, if you score exceptionally high, LinkedIn will include you in the list of the very top candidates that it sends to the job poster as a perk of its job-posting package.  

Here’s what I mean and what you can do about it: When you select a particular job opening on LinkedIn as a Job Seeker Premium account holder, the system will tell you how you score for the position. This score is based in large part on the exact keywords that are listed in your Summary section.

With a LinkedIn Job Seeker Premium Account, you can see how you rank for a position and then click "Get more insights" to learn which keywords to add to your Summary to better match the opening.

In this example, the job seeker would score higher if he/she added the words Account Management and Email Marketing to their LinkedIn Summary.

While each job posting may have different keywords, similar position postings often list many of the same keywords. Add the right keywords and voila! You will immediately score higher for the jobs that you want on LinkedIn.

Of course there are other elements that factor into your score, but the keywords in the Summary section are extremely important. The other elements that determine your score include:

  • Seniority (Have you listed similar jobs at the right seniority level in the Experience section of your profile?)
  •  Network size at the company (Do you have more or fewer people in your network – 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections at the hiring company -- than the other people who have applied for the job?)
  • Education (Do you have the right degree for the job?)

By knowing the right keywords, you can (honestly) update your profile to include the exact keywords that are relevant to your background. I suggest including the keywords and other proof of qualification on your LinkedIn profile in the following ways:

1) Include as many relevant keywords as you can in the 2,000-character Summary section. I suggest doing so in an alphabetized Specialties or Strengths list like this:

Example of alphabetized keywords for a sales training manager position

2)      Copy/paste the same keywords into your Interests section (the repetition in multiple places on your profile will help you show up higher when employers search for someone like you).

3)      Add up to 50 of your specialties into your Skills & Expertise section and seek to get several endorsements for each of your skills.

4)      Include your keywords when describing your job duties in your Experience section. For example: “Used Microsoft Office Suite to create PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets and Microsoft Word documents.”

In addition to your LinkedIn profile, add keywords into your resume and application form submissions. Application tracking systems (online application systems) score your submissions in much the same way that LinkedIn does with your profile. If you don’t use the right keywords, YOU WILL NOT SCORE WELL for jobs.


Want to know your keywords?

I can provide you with an alphabetized list of the exact keywords to list in your LinkedIn Summary section based upon the jobs that you want for just $29.95 prepaid, payable via the "Buy Now button. 

To complete the search, I will send you an email asking for up to 5 job titles for the types of jobs that you want. For example, for a Financial Analyst, you may want me to search for just Financial Analyst jobs, or you may want me to search for keywords for 1) Financial Analyst, 2) Cost Accountant, 3) Accountant, 4) CFO, and 5) Business Analyst. 

I will research the keywords commonly used on dozens of relevant LinkedIn job postings and compile them all into a list for you so you can easily copy and paste them into your LinkedIn Summary. You will, of course, want to review the list before placing it into your Summary to remove keywords that do not fit your particular background. Allow one week for completion of your keyword list.

Use exact keywords on LinkedIn! Doing so can help you Get a Job!


Register now for my upcoming free webinars (if you can’t attend at the scheduled time, register anyway; we’ll send you the slides and recording).

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