Is It Necessary to Customize Your Resume for Every Job?

By TERRA Staffing Group

Posted on February 7, 2020

Photo of resumes on a tableYou’ve probably heard that you should customize your resume for every job you are applying to. But is that actually true?

Like so many things, it depends on your situation. 

If you are looking for employment and are unsure if you should customize your resume or have a one-size fits all resume, don’t worry!

We’ve got you covered.

Below we’ve highlighted a few instances in which modifying your resume is a good idea and when it’s unnecessary.

When to customize your resume

DO customize your resume if:

You want to get your foot in the door of a specific company.

Have your heart set on a particular employer? Tailor your resume to their needs.

Study the job description. Then, review their website to discover their challenges and learn more about the company.

Incorporate keywords they use in your resume and in your cover letter. Using similar language demonstrates that you are aligned with the company and their goals/objectives. 

Showcasing your skills in this fashion is a great way to illustrate that you did your homework, that you are serious about the opportunity and that you are a great fit for the organization.

Insider tip:

In addition to helping you write a knock-out resume, researching a company helps set you up for a successful interview – and helps you determine if the employer is truly the right fit for you.

You’re changing careers.

Transitioning careers can be challenging. Especially if your resume emphasizes skills that aren’t necessarily applicable to the new role.

Sit down and carefully review your resume. Then take a moment to analyze some of the skills, duties and experience needed in that new field, or new role.

Highlight only the parts of your experience that will translate well to the position you are interested in.

Doing this is a great way to underline the transferable skills you bring to the table and can help keep you in consideration for a role, even if you have limited experience. 

Insider tip:

Don’t disregard what you accomplished throughout your work history. Consider using a functional resume format. It focuses more on skills than it does experience. Lead with a “Qualifications” section at the top, where you can break down the skills or experience you have gained over your career.  

DON’T customize your resume if:

You’re applying to a lot of similar jobs.

Filling out one job application can sometimes take a lot of time. Now imagine how much more time it would take if you had to customize a resume for every position you applied to. 

If you’re applying to several similar positions, we have great news! You don’t need to constantly tweak your resume. 

Here’s why: The jobs you’re applying to require similar skills, knowledge and experience. The modifications you’d end up making to your resume would not only be minimal, they would essentially be pointless. 

Save yourself some valuable time – and a headache – and use one general resume for each job you’re applying to. 

Insider Tip:

If you have a strong work history and are interested in continuing in the same line of work, a chronological resume format is the way to go. It starts off with your contact information then jumps into your work experience, with your most recent, or current, position listed first. Employers like this style because it’s really easy to see someone’s experience.  

You have limited work experience.

It’s hard to continually customize a resume that doesn’t have much content. 

If you don’t have much work experience under your belt, it is OK to have a one-size-fits-all resume. 

At the end of the day, most entry-level jobs are pretty forgiving. They often have fairly general requirements as well. In many cases, all an employer is  looking for is someone with previous work history and a desire to learn.

Just make sure your resume is properly formatted, error-free and highlights your skills and experience. This will help you show a potential employer that you have plenty to offer. 

Insider Tip:

New to the workforce? It’s OK to include school-related accomplishments, such as Honor Roll, Dean’s List, Perfect Attendance, or any noteworthy extracurricular activities/volunteer work in your resume.

Consider partnering with a staffing firm.

Working with a staffing company can make your job search a less hectic experience.


Well, for starters, staffing agencies are connected to multiple employers across various industries. They can help you get your foot-in-the-door of an employer much more easily than if you were applying on your own.

Secondly, for your meeting with your recruiter, you need only bring a copy of your latest resume. You don’t need to stress customizing it. After discussing your experience and your goals, your recruiter will give you advice on what changes you may need to make to your resume – if any.

In addition to giving you resume suggestions, a recruiter also acts as an advocate. 

If you are able to articulate your experience to your recruiter and they have an opportunity that is a good fit for you, they will certainly communicate that to their client. 

How TERRA Can Help You

According to Glassdoor, employers look at your resume for a total of 6 seconds. 

This means you have a limited amount of time to show what you bring to the table. And it only adds more stress to writing a resume.

Make searching for a job easier by partnering with a staffing firm. 

Consider teaming up with TERRA Staffing Group. We have offices in many locations and would love to help you find the right fit.

Categories: Career Tips, Professional Development Resources

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