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Last week we spoke about the importance of updating your resume for the New Year! Today, I would like to talk about customizing your resume for the job you are applying for in order to stand out and I want to begin our discussion on the importance of customizing your network as well.

Customizing your resume doesn't have to be grueling experience. I have some easy steps to adding just the right customization to yours! To create the resume that will stand out, here are a few quick tips to follow.

Identify Key Phrases. We have talked about this before and I cannot stress enough, the importance of speaking the language of the company you are looking to work for. To make this easy, print out the job posting you have your eye on, or save it to your desktop if you are more comfortable with that. Highlight phrases that they find important. "High energy environment," "Work with key leadership and clients," "Frequent travel,'' "HTML Experience."

Add Matching Phrases Where You Can. Now go through your resume and replace what you've written with these key phrases where it makes sense. Note! This is not lying. This is about careful word choice. Your resume says, "Met regularly with key leadership teams," but the job posting says, "Interfaces with senior management," so use their language instead. They both mean the same thing. Focusing on the search for key phrases may also remind you of important skills or experience you may have left out.

Make every word count. Items that aren't directly relevant to this job should be deleted, or moved to the bottom of each section. That temp job in another industry? Gone… reduce the clutter where you can. Remember: What you edit out for one application may prove useful for another.

Don't get carried away. You should be tweaking your resume so that it accurately reflects the experience you have that matches the job requirements. Don't lie and don't exaggerate because you may not like the consequences. As long as you are honest, you won't have to worry about an employer seeing two different versions of your resume.

Proofread it -- over and over and over and over again. Check for … they're/there/their, your/you're making sure the correct word is in the correct place. Spell check won't catch those mistakes, and grammar checks are almost worthless when it comes to a resume since you're not using complete sentences. You must do it on your own – take a little extra time, it is worth it!

Now you have a custom resume, with a twist. The time you spent writing it, was great preparation for your interview. After all, you've studied the job posting, figured out how your experience applies to the job, and thought about extra experiences that enhance you as a candidate. If you have to create another one, you'll do it in half the time.

NEXT WEEK: NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK: One of the most common and important pieces of advice you’ll receive! But people who give and receive this advice are not always clear about what is meant by it. Next week, we will talk about why Networking is so important – and how to customize those contacts. So begin to collect those cards, at those holiday events. I will tell you why.

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