How to Get a Great Job: Customize Your Resume


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You’ll never finish writing your resume.


That’s because every time you apply for a posted job opening, you should review your original resume, save it as a new document and then revise to best match the advertised opening. This might include changing or adding keywords, shifting emphasis within your work history, tweaking your summary statement, or all of the above.


“These days, you create a master resume, and then every time you apply for a job you have to save it and tweak it for that specific job.”
—Barb Vlk, business librarian at Arlington Heights (Illinois) Public Library

Keep all versions of your resume so that you can refer to which document you sent to which employer—and so that you have multiple versions to fine-tune for future applications. This is true for both your formatted resumes and your plain-text resumes.


Why do you need to keep all those resumes? Let’s say you e-mailed a resume to apply for a job two weeks ago, and now you need a print copy for your first interview. Which version did you send? You’d better find out, so that all copies of resume match exactly!


That’s why you need to include resume version in your job-search tracking system.


Position applied for


Resume used

Date sent

Sales associate

GoodJeans Co.



Regional sales representative

Meteor Marketing



Assistant manager, sales

Premium Coffee Co.








If you do your job-searching and resume-writing from more than one computer—or if you want to take information to your public library to revise or apply—consider keeping all your resumes on a flash drive, so you can update, revise and send from another computer if necessary.


One last word on creating multiple versions of your resume: Be sure to thoroughly proofread all new versions before you send them out!!

Posting Your Resume Online

Many job boards and career-oriented sites allow you to post a version (or more) of your resume so that hiring companies and recruiters can find you. This is typically done by filling out an online form (copying and pasting from your best plain text version).

Keep It Contained

While it may seem like a great idea to post your resume everywhere you possibly can in order to get the most exposure, consider this: It’s a better idea to maintain control of your own information. Don’t allow a site to “blast” your resume to various places, and don’t fill out a profile that contains all your personal contact information. This will protect you from e-mail spam, unwanted contacts, and even identity theft!

Consider this strategy instead: definitely post one or more versions of your resume on and/or, as well as a couple of more specialized job sites for your industry or region. But before you choose those smaller sites, read their privacy policies to see if they can sell or share your information.

Keep It Private

If you’re discreetly looking for a new job while still employed, keep in mind that your posted resumes may be found by coworkers and supervisors at your current employer. If you want to keep your job search on the down low, you can remove employer company names and replace with descriptors. If your current employer is Advanced Computer Systems and you don’t want to be found by a search on that name, replace with “Mid-sized technology consulting company.”

Keep It Fresh

It’s true for the large job sites and may be for some smaller sites as well: when you revise and update your resume, it moves back to the top of the list in associated databases. So try to add or change something every month or so to “refresh” your standings.


Creating Your Own Resume Site

Another way to share your resume with potential employers is to post it on your own website, or simply create a one-page site that is your resume.

An added bonus for those job seekers that show portfolios of their work, such as graphic designers or architects: you can post samples on the same site.

Pros and Cons


1.  A Web-based resume is easy to share during networking, telephone interviews and other meetings—just tell the other person the URL where it can be found.

2.  Employers and recruiters may find you first, if they are searching the Web for candidates with keywords.

3.  An online resume can include live links to your work samples, previous employers’ websites, etc.


1.  You’ll need to purchase or find space on a Web server to host your resume—and hire someone to create an HTML page from your current resume, or learn how to do it yourself.

2.  If you’re currently employed and your employer doesn’t know you’re looking for a new job, your resume may pop up during a Google search.

3.   Forget about the various versions of your resume—you should post only one, which might end up being too limiting.

If you’re a university student or recent grad, check with your school to see if provides Web space for graduates.

One last word: Don’t use your personal or family website to hold your resume. Pictures of your grandchildren—or of you cavorting at a wedding—are not to be associated with your search. If you decide to post your resume online, keep it separate!

book cover: How to Get a Great Job: A Library How-To HandbookThis article is adapted from the book How to Get a Great Job: A Library How-To Handbook by Editors of the American Library Association published by ALA Editions.

Photo credit: NoncommercialShare Alike Job Application by jon.liu

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