Tailor your resume and cover letter to the description of the job you’re applying for – this is not new advice. So why do so many of us discount it? I think there are two answers.

1) Sometimes we’re lazy. To fool ourselves into thinking we’re not, we apply for jobs that we’re not really interested in and know we wouldn’t be a good fit for, just so we can tell ourselves we tried. Then when nothing happens… “I applied for one job every day this week, what else could I have done?”

2) Sometimes we don’t tailor our resume because we can’t let go of past accomplishments that once defined us, but now lack relevancy in our future pursuits. Our egos are wrapped in an identity that we have not yet moved on from so we tell the reader what we value most in ourselves versus considering what the reader would value most about us.

We may have been the president of our sorority, we may have traveled around Asia after college, and we may have published an op-ed in a publication we hold in high regard. But before we include these experiences in our resume, we should ask ourselves not only if they speak to the job to which we aspire, but what they say about us and how we see ourselves. Our past successes may have been hard-won and instrumental in shaping who we are today, but if our resume tells the reader we can’t envision ourselves as anything other than our past selves, we can’t expect a reader to see beyond what we have done to what we are capable of becoming.