Creating a Customized Résumé

Learning Outcome

  • Create a résumé customized for a specific job opening

On the prior pages, we learned the purpose and sections for résumés: simply to help you get to the interview. To get there, your résumé must quickly demonstrate how you meet all the minimum skills the employer requested and perhaps more. You cannot change who you are and what experiences you have, but you can change the way the information is presented. In this section, we will demonstrate how the common building blocks of a résumé may be constructed and reorganized to help you look your best.

First, let us address how to build each building block. At this point, they are offered in no particular order. We will talk about formatting later as well. This section is written for the typical chronological résumé since it is the most common. The skills learned here may be modified to match the types identified earlier in the chapter.

Building Block Section Example  Comments
You and contact information Max P Kimble345 Baxter Street

Columbus, TX 12345


While most employers will call or use email, the postal address adds an air of stability.Avoid any “” type email address or”  Open a new email account that is just yours and has a professional tone. Never, never ever, use your current employer’s email address when applying to a new employer. An employer’s email address is only suitable when applying within the same company.

The phone number you use is likely a cell. Be sure your voicemail message is updated to a professional greeting. Ensure that number is not shared or answered by anyone else who might offer a less than professional greeting.

Objective or Career Objective Do not use. All this does is talk about what you want. Employers are not hiring you to make you happy, but to satisfy their own need.
Skills or Career Summary Skills: Leadership, CPA, type 100 wpm, able to work in fast paced environment.Career Summary: Experiences in sales management with five years in sales and three years in sales management. All years meeting or exceeding quotas. Customer satisfaction levels exceeding all peers. Fill this section with six to eight specific skills and abilities needed by the job you are applying to. Or use short sentences or phrases to highlight relevant successes.Here you can quickly tell a workplace story to verify your ability. Use the words and order of skills to match the ad. Focus on minimum requirements before preferred requirements.
Work Experience Sales Manager, Friedo Inc, 2014–present

  • Exceeded annual objective by 10% in seven of ten years.
  • Delivered seventeen unsolicited proposals every year.
  • Guided team of three to on-time delivery of sales bids in 100% of opportunities.
Notice how the job title, company, and year anchors the important part. The important part is describing what you did in terms of the measurable successes you had. Take note, the bullets are written with parallel construction.

Repeat this process for each relevant job. Use the most current positions that relate to the ad. Add non-related jobs only to fill in a page to at least three-quarters full.

This should not be a job description. Instead, it should focus on your accomplishments and your role in the work. The bullets below represent what not to do. Can you see the difference?

Sales Manager, Friedo Inc, 2014–present

  • Sold systems based on annual sales objectives
  • Created unsolicited proposals as requested
  • Work with team to create sales proposals and presentations as assigned.
Education MBA, University of Florida, 2003BA Communication, St Charles University, 2001 The examples of the education are the simplest listings.If you have a GPA of 3.5 or above, list it. You worked hard and earned it. Some will list at 3.0. Below that no one will ask or will particularly care—the fact that you graduated is the point.

If your experiences in college match the ad, help the hiring company see that by listing them.

There is no need to list high school or G.E.D. if you are in college or have attended college. If not, then list the high school from which you graduated.

Here are more detailed options for listing education when someone is applying to an accounting position.

MBA, University of Florida, 2003

  • 12 credit hours advanced accounting including Cost Accounting, Inventory and Material Accounting and Investment Accounting

BA Communication, St Charles University, 2001

  • 16 hours in Accounting, Minor in Accounting


Other Sections:

  • Certifications
  • Volunteer
Use as needed.

With these building blocks in mind, you may build your first résumé. With that solid foundation, you will reorder and reword to match the requirements of the job that you are applying for. It’s often a good idea to create a “master” résumé that contains all of your experiences and qualifications, then when applying for a new position, you can make a copy of that master and trim it back to only include relevant experience—that way you won’t find yourself trying to come up with the perfect wording for each job every time you want to use it in a specific application.

Perhaps the most important part of creating your résumé is proofreading. Your résumé should follow standard American English conventions (assuming you’re applying to a job in America) for spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Once you have finished creating your document, take a short break and then return to your résumé with fresh eyes (or have someone else take a look!).

Practice Question