- On March 7, 2021
One of the most important things to do when job searching is tailoring your resume to the job. I say that all the time, but what do I mean by that? Five ways to customize your resume to the opportunity:
- Do NOT lay out your resume with what you do in the order you do it. That’s what most lawyers do, and that puts the burden on the reader to figure out if you have relevant experience. So your first task is to determine what the hiring manager cares about most.
- Reorder your bullets with the skills and experiences the manager cares about most. Also, when you list examples of work, lead with the ones that apply to the job. You only get a 5 second skim of your resume, so the key points should jump out. Material up top will have a higher chance of being read, so if your resume leads with irrelevant experience, the hiring manager may stop reading and not get to the relevant part.
- Use language straight from the job description. Your readers will NOT consider it pandering (I get asked that a lot); instead, they will see you have done the requisite work. Do not use synonyms. If the description says “contracts,” don’t say “agreements,” or “competition” for “antitrust,” or “SEC filing” for “public company reporting,” etc. Use their terms. You don’t want to be screened out in the first cut by someone who doesn’t know legal terminology.
- Lead with experience in relevant industries. For example, if you are a corporate associate applying for a software job, list your work for software clients first. If you still have space, include health tech clients before you get to pharma clients.
- Consider deleting irrelevant experience. If you have done ABCD and the job only cares about ABC, then flesh out those examples, and don’t include info about D. For example, if you are applying for an individual contributor/subject matter expert role, you don’t have to include that you have 3 direct reports, which will make the manager question whether you are truly interested in the job.