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Customize Your Cover Letter – But Not Your Resume (and Avoid the Buzzwords)

Posted by Brooke Lockhart on September 17, 2009

Are you spending hours customizing your resume to each job opening you apply for? Sounds time consuming. And Kerry Sandberg Scott agrees - she thinks it’s crazy to customize your resume to each job. Your experience is the same, so what do you need to change about it? Instead, use your cover letter to highlight how your experience applies to the specific position.

While we're at it, Kerry Sandberg Scott also dispelled another urban legend: the need for buzzwords in your resume in order for it to get seen. Here’s why she says that’s not true:

  1. Most companies don’t use applicant tracking systems.
  2. You can put the keywords into your cover letter so they would be picked up in a search.
  3. Nobody ONLY looks at keywords. Yes, recruiters may search for people with a certain certification, but they’re also going to look at the rest of the resumes.
  4. Whoever told you that may have just been trying to make money off 'coaching' you.

So bottom line... Recruiters do search for keywords when looking for candidates, but that’s still no reason to spend 2 hours preparing your resume for submission to a position. That’s just unnecessary. Spend the time on the cover letter instead - or applying to other positions.

Topics: Job Search Strategies, How to Write a Resume, Writing a Cover Letter