Your resume is the first impression you make when applying for a job. However, even the most experienced professionals struggle to create a resume that stands out above the rest. Since a resume is ideally just one to two pages, deciding on which skills and work experience to include can be a challenge.
The easiest way is to have just one generic resume that you send out to all job prospects. However, you can gain an advantage over other job applicants by tailoring your resume to the industry you are applying to. Human resource departments sift through dozens of resumes that look similar, but they are always on the lookout for one that looks unique.
A winning resume is one that makes a prospective employer feel like your credentials are a great fit for their industry. You just need to know which ones to highlight. Below, we will identify several industries and provide you resume examples by industry, along with some tips as to which skills you should put front and center in your resume.
Trading and Manufacturing
Sales positions are in high demand in the trading and manufacturing sectors. Even during economically difficult times, sales managers, reps and assistants are usually in demand. Companies know that they need to increase sales to stay afloat, and even if they have to cut overhead expenses, the sales departments are usually not affected.
In these industries, education and sales achievement should be clearly highlighted. When you structure your resume, make sure to include these credentials first. Use language familiar to the industries. Here are some relevant terms you can include in your resume.
- Highly motivated
- Problem-solving skills
- Able to take initiative
- Attention to detail
- Lead generation
- Excellent communication skills
- Talent for fostering business relationships
- Experienced account management
- Goal setter
- Excels at customer acquisition and retention
Use assertive and persuasive language. Instead of saying you “helped increase sales by 20%”, say that you “generated a 20% increase in sales”. Frame your experience in terms of sales targets, how quickly you reached your targets, and key sales wins. For example, you can say that you had a sales target of $1 million for the year, and that you hit the target in just nine months.
When applying for a position in the financial industry, make your professional summary the first section. If you are a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or have other accounting certifications, indicate this on your resume. Look into the requirements for the specific job you are applying for. You want to tailor your qualifications as closely as possible to the position. If you can find out what specific responsibilities the position calls for, highlight the skills and work experience that fit. Use action words to demonstrate your skills and if possible, include some quantifiable data.
For a finance position, talk about your experiences with banking or financial institutions as well as any industry-related training or programs you took. Add adjectives that clearly emphasize your achievements. Here are examples of a weak and strong professional summary:
Weak: “Financial analyst with great interpersonal skills. Helped companies formulate profit goals and strategies to attain them”.
Strong: “Financial analyst with excellent analytical skills, results-driven work attitude, and a collaborative team player. Worked with several Fortune 500 companies in identifying various investment opportunities, resulting in a year-on-year average profit increase upwards of 20%”.
Information Technology (IT)
There are many positions in the IT sector, so it is important to research the specific skills required for the position. That could be as data analyst, data scientist, Java developer, video editor, web developer, network security specialist, or another IT-related job.
While most resumes are best kept simple, technical jargon is needed when applying for an IT position, as it demonstrates the extent of your technical skills. Be specific about the technical skills you have. If the position is for a programmer, detail the programming languages you know like SQL, Oracle, and Python. If the position is for a data analyst, list your hard skills such as data visualization, datamining, data science skills, machine learning, and data modeling work.
Also add your technical certifications, professional training, awards, and major projects that you have worked on. The more relevant these projects are to the position you are applying for, the better.
Marketing positions are important in the retail industry. You can be a marketing associate or manager, a social media specialist, an event planner, or a public relations officer, among others. Work experience should be emphasized more than education when crafting your resume. Achievements include experience with marketing campaigns, the magnitude of each campaign, and your direct role in them. If your work also helped improve the company’s finances, productivity, or efficiency,
Part of a marketing associate’s resume may include work descriptions similar to the following:
- “Implemented marketing strategies within budget, studied consumer and market information, and participated in marketing campaigns that resulted in a year-on-year gross revenue increase of over $100,000.”
- “Utilized search engine optimization (SEO) knowledge on website posts that resulted in company search results appearing on the first page of Google Search”
- “Helped create promotional materials to promote brand awareness and produce attractive web designs on multiple platforms.”
- “Wrote an average of four to five press releases and media ads weekly.”
Creatives and Design
Architectural firms, fashion houses, interior design firms, the music and entertainment industry, and animation companies are just a few businesses that are considered part of the arts and creative design industries. In this case, artistic skills and work experience count more than one’s educational background. In fact, some applicants in this industry choose to remove their education information from their resume so they have room to detail their work experiences and creative skills.
Before you start thinking of making your resume a canvas for your creativity, remember that it will still need to look like a regular resume, with a clean and simple layout. Your portfolio, which will form an important part of your resume, is where you can exhibit your best work.
In your resume, use words such as “improved”, “managed”, “designed”, “increased”, or “created” which can better describe your artistic skills in projects. Here’s one way to describe work done by a graphic designer:
“Results-driven graphic designer with five years of experience in digital marketing. Worked extensively with apps like Adobe Photoshop, Canva, Autodesk Sketchbook, Adobe InDesign, in both Windows and iOS environments. Heavily involved in the creation of logos, landing pages, infographics, and general website layout.”
When customizing your resume, you can begin with a master resume template that contains your credentials. You can then pick and choose which to include depending on the industry, highlighting those that the industry considers important, and using the right language.
When the company sees that you made the effort to prepare a customized resume for them, it’s much more likely that you’ll become a serious contender for the position.