Reverse write your resume
This one is no fun, but can be really effective. Forget everything you already have on your resume. Go open a new blank document. On your second screen (if you're a LifeHacker reader, you have two screens, right?) pop open the job description of the job you're seeking.
Now reverse chronologically write your resume, by focusing exclusively on "what have I done that the people who wrote this description will like?" If you can, match it bullet by bullet (try not to be too obvious about this). The process of building a resume from scratch that is targeted towards a particular job forces you to let go of the unnecessary material you have in your generic resume. Be a salesperson, not a fact-reciter.
Subtly nod to the employer using color
I just tried this fun little experiment with one of our RezScore resume writing clients and it went over really well. The client was applying to work at Coca-Cola and wanted to differentiate herself somehow, since it is so difficult to break in to Coke. We wanted to do something subtle that let Coke know this was a targeted application, while not being cheesy or overly aggressive. The trick ended up being super simple. We used Coke Red to color the client's professional headline. That's it; the rest of the resume was done in the usual fashion.
Because we used Coke's very well-known red color for the headline, the HR person knew my client was targeting her resume, and was impressed with the subtlety of the pitch. The next time you apply to a company with a recognizable logo—try using a bit of the coloring somewhere in your resume. (Note: we DO NOT recommend copying and pasting the logo itself into your resume!)
By Sean Weinberg