How To Tailor Your Resume to Your Dream Remote Job

Remote Job Hunting

Hiring experts say you should tailor your resume for the remote job you’re chasing, but what does that really mean? This quick guide answers all your questions.

What does it mean to tailor your resume to your dream remote job? And, more importantly, how do you do it?

One of the biggest comments we get from remote companies is that they see people mass applying for jobs and not actually applying for the right reasons. These candidates simply send out the same resume and cover letter without considering whether they’re right for the company receiving them.

Now, in the age of COVID-19 layoffs, no one can fault you for applying for jobs because you need a steady income. However, you can give hiring teams a better indication that you’re the right fit when you specifically tailor your job search documents for them.

Looking for a remote job in 2024? Check out the ultimate guide to landing a remote job in 2024 here.

Yes, tailoring your application for each and every role can take a lot of time and effort. So we called on Caro Griffin to show us a quick, scalable process in our second webinar for our WWR community.

Previously the Director of Operations at Skillcrush, Caro gave us some amazing resume tips based on her experience in HR and hiring. And even though the webinar has been completed, you can watch the full recording here

Keep reading while we go through the process and add a few tips of our own in today’s guide.

How to Tailor Your Resume to Your Dream Remote Job

Specific improvements you make to your resume can have a crazy positive effect on your remote job search. So treat the time you spend on your resume as an investment in your future.

Though resumes are by no means perfect, they give you the best opportunity to introduce yourself, show off your skills and experience, and help you get one step closer to landing your dream role.

Before we get started, there’s one crucial point we must make: The goal of a resume is not to land a job but to score an interview.

That means your resume should be compelling enough to pique the interest of hiring teams while showing that you’re the right fit for the position and company culture. 

Tailoring your resume for each position and company helps you do this. And all it takes is following this simple 6-step process:

1. Create and Keep Updating One Master Resume 📂

Consider a master resume a running list of all your career accomplishments and experience in your different roles. Here’s where you’ll info-dump everything you’ve ever considered putting on a resume. 

Don’t worry about how long this document is for now; the goal is to get out all of your ideas and compile a list of things you can later pick out to form more targeted resumes.

So add all your education, online coursework, awards and recognition, and any roles or work experience that may or may not be relevant to your current remote job search.

Having all this intel compiled in one location makes it easier to update your LinkedIn profile and gives you a solid base to craft all your future resumes.

Make sure to keep up with your master resume and always update it as you gain new experience, certifications, job titles, etc.

2. Work On 2 or 3 Different Versions of Your Resume 📝

When you create two or three different versions of your resume, you’re “parallel tracking” and playing both the short and long game simultaneously. This will optimize your chances of success and help you apply for a wider swath of roles. You can use a resume builder like CVStep to make this easier.

To begin, try creating different resumes to target:

  • Similar roles, which are the same as what you’re currently doing or have the most experience in.

  • Bridge roles, which may be a bit of a stretch. These positions typically require skills you’ve acquired in your previous roles while allowing you to pick up new ones that put you in a better position to land your dream role.

  • Dream roles, which are the biggest stretch. These roles may call for additional skills or certifications, a jump in seniority, or may be in a totally different field from your experience.

Let’s say you’re currently working as a virtual administrative assistant, but you really want to become a digital marketing director. Applying for a marketing assistant role would bridge the gap between your admin experience and give you the skills needed to work your way up to your dream job.

Targeting similar and bridge roles will widen your job search while still keeping you on track to land your ideal position. And having a dedicated resume for each type of role helps you focus on the specifics hiring managers are looking for. 

Once you stumble on positions in these categories, you just have to pick the resume that fits best and start tailoring it from there.

3. Read Job Ads and Job Descriptions with a Fine-Toothed Comb 👀

Most candidates don’t realize they have everything they need to create a killer resume right in the description of a job ad. Hiring teams spend lots of time writing these descriptions. So use them like a cheatsheet and give them exactly what they’re looking for.

To do this:

First, copy the entire job ad into a new document. This will give you a working model to edit according to the skills/experience you have versus what they’re looking for.

Next, highlight specific industry keywords and phrases. These are the secret passwords you’ll use to show hiring teams you’re a good fit.

Job description from Automattic

Many hiring teams see upwards of 300 applications for a single position. It’s almost impossible to read all these, so over 90% of companies use applicant tracking systems/software (ATS) to help. ATS will parse your resume to see how many keywords match the keywords used in the job description.

Resumes that use these keywords will be seen as “qualified” and make their way to a hiring manager’s inbox. Those that fail to hit these keywords may wind up in the trash.

Finally, identify and match the tone. Learning how to tailor your resume for each company also requires you to read the room (so to speak). Some job ads will be more buttoned-up, while others will be more casual. Your resume must match this tone to connect with potential employers at these companies. 

Reading job ads carefully like this will also help you catch small details other applicants may miss. Companies may ask you to apply with a specific subject line or include your favorite emoji to see how well candidates pay attention and follow instructions. Those who don’t will be immediately culled from the herd.

4. Use a Resume Scanning Tool 🔎

Online resume scanning tools can show you how well your resume matches up to what a company is specifically looking for. These optimize your resume and boost your interview chances. And they’re a lifesaver when you’re applying to tons of jobs every day.

With a tool like JobScan, you’ll copy and paste the job ad and your resume into separate text boxes. Then, their wizard robots will scan both boxes to find all the similarities and differences and give your resume a score. The higher your score, the better your chances of getting past the ATS gatekeepers.

Tools like this will help you find and replace the most important keywords and phrases the easy way. They may show you that the job ad used the word “organized,” while your resume uses the word “coordinated,” for example. Swap these out, and you’ll get one step closer to looking like the perfect candidate.

If you’re applying for positions you’re qualified for but not getting interviews, it could be a simple keyword mismatch that’s causing your application to slip through the cracks. Fix these, and you’ll be surprised by how many callbacks you start receiving.

5. Write Relevant, Compelling Copy that Sells ✅

It’s a good rule of thumb to keep your resume between one and two pages long, depending on the length of your career experience. But this doesn’t leave you much room.

Considering how precious the real estate on your resume is, every word, bullet point, and statement matters. So ditch the fluff and get straight to the point.

Only include work experience, education, and other points that relate to the job you’re targeting. If you’re applying for a front-end developer job, for example, don’t waste room talking about your call center experience. Save this for your LinkedIn profile and only give hiring teams the most pertinent information.

Place your biggest selling points in the top-third of your resume. If a busy hiring manager only scans your resume, make sure they see the most compelling intel first and foremost. Keep it interesting, and they may just keep reading the rest of your resume to see why you’re deserving of an interview.

Start each sentence or bullet point with an action verb. Words like “implemented,” “pioneered,” “spearheaded,” and “optimized” capture attention and breathe life into your resume. 

Show, don’t tell. Rather than rehashing your job duties, show hiring teams the result of your hard work using numbers, percentages, data, and other quantifiable metrics that back up your claims. These give a better indication of what part you played in your team’s success, and they help you stand out from your competitors.

These specifics may be harder to quantify retroactively, especially since we tend to forget our day-to-day wins. So start collecting and adding these figures to your master resume as you bank them.

6. Always Show Off Your Personality 😊

How will you stand out from the hundreds of other applicants with similar education and work experience? How will you show hiring teams that your character, values, and work ethic align with their company culture?

You give them a memorable glimpse of your personality, passions, and interests. Everything from your cover letter to your resume’s colors and format can help you make a memorable impression or cause you to fade into the pool of other candidates.

Caro gave a great example of this during our webinar on how to tailor your resume for remote positions:

A candidate, affectionately known as “Fish Guy,” mentioned that he loves tropical fish (and even used a little fish emoji 🐠 on his application). This personable fun fact shed light on his interests, created a memorable first impression, and led the team to fall down the rabbit hole of his portfolio to learn more about him.

So to get a leg up on your competition, you should:

Craft a 2-3 sentence elevator pitch or personal branding statement that describes what you do, what you’re interested in/passionate about, and how you can help the company succeed. Connect the dots between your experience and the company’s needs.

Mention why you want to work for this company specifically. You may want a developer job, but it’s on you to show teams why you want this specific developer job and why you’ll be a perfect fit.

Make your resume interactive by linking to your projects, digital portfolio, website, and more. These will show off your clear point of view and stellar skills simultaneously.

Final Thoughts On How to Tailor Your Resume for Your Dream Remote Job

Hiring teams will always be more impressed by resumes that seem tailor-made for their positions rather than bland, generic ones that don’t take any effort to spam out. So it’s in your best interest to go the extra mile for roles you’re really excited about.

Consider this time customizing your resume as an investment in your remote career.

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