How to customize your resume and cover letter for any job

How to customize your resume and cover letter for any job
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 13 April, 2022

Smart candidates know the importance of tailoring their resumes and cover letter to fit the job, company, or industry they are applying for. A "one size fits all" resume and cover letter may have worked in the past, but to survive today's competitive job market, one must learn how to customize these important job search documents.

Tailoring your resume and cover letter serves two very important purposes:

1. Customization allows for easy scanning of resumes and cover letters in applicant tracking systems

Here at employers look for candidates through our SiVA Recruitment Centre by using keywords or search terms such as job titles, skills, education level, etc. that can be found in their online profiles. You can take full advantage of this feature by highlighting those points and traits that you want employers to notice about you. This also works best when you're doing a targeted job search and would want particular companies to get in touch with you.

Simply update your profile for a more customized job search experience. For every update, the system captures information in your profile at the point of your job application. That means thatany changes made to your Profile later will not affect past applications.

For example, if you would like to customize certain information (i.e. Expected Salary) in your Profile for a few jobs, just edit your Expected Salary before applying to each job.

2. Catch hirers' eyes by using carefully-selected words that match their job ads

Six seconds - that's all it takes before a hirer decides to ditch your application or move you into the next phase of the hiring process. In that short span of time, he/she would just skim (yes, really) through your resume or cover letter, zooming in on specific words and phrases that the vacancy calls for. Tailoring your documents so that they show the most relevant and impressive parts will increase your chances of passing through the six-second long review with flying colors.

While it might sound like customizing your resume and cover letter

 requires a lot of work, it is actually very manageable if you know how to do it. And don't worry, you don't have to completely overhaul your resume every time you apply for a position, but it does require carefully studying each and every job ad that comes your way. A simple tweaking of your resume and cover letter before applying can make a ton of difference.

How to customize your resume for any role

Take the time toreallyunderstand the job you are applying for

Before applying for any job that catches your fancy, make sure you've actually studied the ins and outs of what the job may entail. Look for keywords that are highlighted on the ad, focusing on duties as well as the skills that the role specifically calls for. Take note of these essentials to help you customize your resume to that particular job.

Assess yourself against the information and see if you match up with the job's demands

Once you have the important points of the job narrowed down, the next thing to do is to see whether you stack up to the challenge at hand. If you have the skills and experience that they're looking for, then great! Mirror the language used on the job ad and use it to craft your own resume.

Let's say the job ad calls for,"Advanced analytical skills,"and"Able to strategize, recommend and implement SEO best practices" (for an SEO Specialist role), you may frame one of your mentioned skills as, "With advanced analytical skills in relation to strategizing and implementing SEO best practices."

Don't forget to highlight your soft skills that are relevant to the job as well

Scan the job ad and this time look for the soft skills that the role demands from candidates. Again, see if you have the qualities that they're looking for and don't forget to mention these traits in your resume. Remember to always mirror the language of the job ad whenever you customize your resume for a specific role.

Research the company you are sending your application to

Call it the Mean Girls cafeteria scene come to life - people want to be with people who are like them, and in the working world that means you're much more likely to get hired by companies whose values and goals are similar to yours.

Having said that, you can use the same principle when tailoring your resume for a specific job, or in this case a specific company. Simply research what you can about the company that interests you and customize your resume to present yourself as a good fit for the team. For example, you may win points with a recruiter from a health food company if you mention that you were once part of an organic farming collective as a community organizer (if that is true, that is!).

How to successfully tailor your cover letter

Focus on highlighting key terms and phrases from the job ad

Relevancy is the name of the game here. Make sure you can hold the hirer's attention by successfully highlighting and mirroring (there's that word again!) specific keywords from the job ad you are applying to. The key here is not to create a novel "” remember to keep it short and sweet by focusing on the most important aspects of the vacancy, and use it to put a spotlight on your skills and traits that match up to their needs.

Show why you're interested in the job

Along with skills and a great attitude, in the end it's enthusiasm that closes the deal and helps candidates win the job. Convey in your letter what interests you most about the job and explain why you're the perfect hire for the role. Don't be afraid to show your personality if you think it would help your cause.

Sell yourself to the hirer and show your worth

We don't mean this literally, of course. But through your cover letter, find a way to tell the hirer what makes you unique amongst all the other candidates vying for the role. Again, look at what the job demands, as well as the company's culture and values to sell yourself in the best way possible. There's no need to exaggerate your qualifications, nor is it the right time to be humble about what you can do and accomplish in the role. Your mission here is to present yourself as the best pick for the role, and you can do that by customizing your cover letter and resume to the role.

Always remember that the goal of job hunting is to stand out amongst the crowd of candidates vying for the same job. While having stellar accomplishments and skills help you get your goals, it won't hurt to give yourself a little bit of "boost" to get ahead of the competition, and customizing your resume and cover letter can help you do that. Good luck!

Follow our Facebook page for more fresh insights into career hacking and the latest employment trends.

About is a leading online job board presently covering the employment markets in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam. currently services over 230,000 corporate hirers and over 15 million jobseekers in its database.

About SEEK Asia and jobsDB are part of SEEK Asia, which is the leading online employment market place in Asia. SEEK Asia covers 7 countries namely Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

SEEK Asia is the extension of the Australian Securities Exchange listed company called SEEK. The company's purpose is to help improve people's lives through a better career. SEEK Asia's database consist of over 500,000 corporate hirers and over 24 million candidates.

For more information about this article, or to schedule an interview with Philippines, please call Monica Palomares, Marketing Specialist, at 286-6222.

More from this category: Resumes

Top search terms

Want to know what people are searching for on Jobstreet? Explore our top search terms to stay across industry trends.

Explore related topics

Choose an area of interest to browse related careers.

Subscribe to Career Advice

Get expert career advice delivered to your inbox.
You can cancel emails at any time. By clicking ‘subscribe’ you agree to Jobstreet’s Privacy Statement.