How To Write A Targeted Resume To Match A Job Description

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You want to maximize your chance of securing an interview, so you may be wondering how to write a targeted resume. We’ve got you! We’ll share what a targeted resume should include and the steps you should take to create one. That way, you can be confident that it will impress the recruiter and hiring manager.

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What Is A Targeted Resume?

A targeted resume is a resume that gets customized to align with the specific skills, experience, and credentials a particular position requires. The document mirrors the job posting by incorporating relevant keywords and phrases from it.

Benefits Of Using A Targeted Resume

A targeted resume will help your application get past the company’s applicant tracking system’s screening filters. It will also demonstrate that you’re a top candidate for the role and increase your chances of being contacted by a recruiter or hiring manager.

When To Use A Targeted Resume

If you know the requirements of your desired role, you should almost always use a targeted resume. Yes, creating one will take some time. But, the improved odds of getting an interview make the effort worthwhile.

Note: If your skills and experience don’t match the job you want to apply for, a targeted resume may not be your best bet. In that case, you should focus on demonstrating how your transferable skills will make you successful in that role.

How To Write A Targeted Resume

When you sit down to write a targeted resume, the first thing you should do is review the job posting carefully. As you read through it, note the overlap between the position’s requirements and the skills, education, and experience you possess. Then, each section of your targeted resume should highlight that overlap to make it clear you’re an excellent match for the role.

For example, let’s say you want to apply for a Senior HR Generalist position at LawGroup, LLC, a multistate law firm with 300+ employees. The company requires at least five years of experience, an HR-related certification, and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. The successful candidate should be well-versed in recruiting, employee relations, benefits administration, and payroll processing. They should also be comfortable serving as an HR department of one.

Assuming your background aligns with the above criteria, here’s how you might tailor your resume in the following key sections:

Resume Summary

SPHR certified HR professional with ten years of experience seeking Senior HR Generalist position with LawGroup, LLC. Skilled at recruiting, employee relations, benefits, administration, payroll, training, and compliance. At HRGroup, LLC, supported 500 employees across four states as the sole HR point of contact.

Work Experience

HR Generalist

HRGroup, LLC


  • Recruited and onboarded 75 new employees from entry-level to C-Suite.
  • Resolved ten complex harassment and discrimination complaints in-house, avoiding litigation.

Join The Break Community

  • Administered all company benefits, including health insurance and 401k retirement savings plans.
  • Processed bi-weekly payroll for 500 employees that worked in four different states.
  • Trained each new hire on company-wide processes, procedures, and rules.
  • Maintained all required records to keep the organization in compliance.

Key Takeaway: Describe your accomplishments with an action word (identifies the skill you used) followed by a number (demonstrates the scope of your responsibility or the result you achieved) to make the biggest impact.

Education and Certifications

Bachelor’s Business Administration

ABC University


Senior Professional in Human Resources® (SPHR)

HR Certification Institute®

Valid until 2024

Note: If you have limited work experience, you should add more details about your education, such as completing a related internship or participating in a relevant club.


Recruiting, employee relations, benefits administration, payroll, communication, attention to detail, discretion

Note: You should list less than ten skills here. The first several competencies should come directly from the job posting. The others should still be related to the role.

Pro Targeted Resume Writing Tips

Follow these best practices to ensure your resume stays at the top of the pile:

  • Look for ways to tailor every section of your resume to the position you want.
  • Leave off any information that doesn’t support your candidacy for that specific role.
  • Avoid copying large sections of the position advertisement into your resume because it will look suspicious to the employer.
  • Use your generic resume as a template to speed up the writing process. Be sure to save the new document with a different file name after you customize it for each application.

Bonus Tip: Write a targeted cover letter to accompany your targeted resume. That way, you can provide greater insight into why you’re the right person for the job.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Who should use a targeted resume?

Everyone should use a targeted resume if they know the specific duties and qualifications of the position they want. Doing so can help you stand out as a top candidate.

What is the difference between a targeted resume and a traditional resume?

A targeted resume is written with a specific role in mind, while a traditional resume is a general summary of your career. For more information, check out our guide that compares all the different types of resumes.

What difficulties do you experience when writing a targeted resume?

The most significant difficulty you may experience when writing a targeted resume is aligning your qualifications, skills, and experience with what's listed in the job description.

How do you ensure your targeted resume highlights your achievements?

You can ensure that your targeted resume highlights your achievements by including applicable keywords and phrases from the job description. You should also drive home what you can do for a company by using numbers to quantify your accomplishments.

The Bottom Line

At this point, you should be able to write a targeted resume that wows the hiring manager. But, if you still need a little help, we encourage you to partner with one of our choices for the best resume writing service. Then, you’ll be ready to find your next opportunity on ZipRecruiter!