If you're actively on the job hunt and have a good sense of the types of roles you're looking for, it’s smart to have a resume ready to send off at a moment’s notice. However, the most effective job applications are those that are specifically tailored to the role at hand, so if you have the time (and it might not take more than a few hours!), it’s worth it to tailor your resume to a job posting.
How does this work? First, take a look at the job posting and figure out the main qualifications the employer is looking for. These are usually listed near the top and are often paraphrased several times in the posting. Is it clear from a quick glance at your resume that you have these skills or desirable qualities? If not, is there a way to reframe your experience to call attention to them, either by reordering your bullet points, adding or removing entries in your experience section, or customizing your professional summary? Remember, your goal with your resume is to tell the story the hiring manager wants to hear: namely, that you are a great candidate for this specific role and are truly interested in the potential work. Hiring managers don't have a ton of time and won't do guesswork to figure out why you might be a great candidate if you don't spell it out for them. They will not assume you eagerly meant to apply for this specific role if your resume reflects a wildly different trajectory with no explanation; they'll instead assume that you were resume bombing every somewhat adjacent job ad in sight.
The second step is to look at specific keywords in the job posting and make sure you have described your experience similarly. In particular, look at the action verbs the job posting uses and see if you can tweak your bullet points to include those same words. For example, if your resume says “Interface with agents and managers to source IP,” and the job posting says “Liaise with representation to solicit pitches and writers,” you could make a simple tweak to the verbs in your bullet point to match theirs and explicitly show them you have the skills they are looking for. Furthermore, if there are any specialized skills or software called out in the posting as a “nice-to-have,” and you have those skills, feature them on your resume! Tweaking keywords in this way is helpful for hiring managers who are skimming, as well as for applicant tracking systems (ATS) that are literally designed to match specific keywords.
It might seem more time consuming to tailor your resume to every job, but you'll also get the right job faster, rather than getting stuck in an endless loop of submissions and silence. Plus, if you're conducting a targeted, strategic job search and only going for the jobs you are most excited about, you won't be applying for a ton of jobs each week anyway. Proving to the hiring manager that you really want this job is half the battle in the job application process, and tailoring your resume is the perfect way to start making the case for yourself
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan