Information, helpful advice, and commentary about topics relevant to relaunchers.

Should I Write More Than One Resume?

In a word – yes. As a job seeker, you should take advantage of all opportunities to showcase your fit for a role.  Assuming that you are applying for a variety of roles, each of which has a unique set of skills and traits, you want your resume to reflect the talents and experiences a firm deems necessary for a role. 

As a career coach, I’ve had little issue convincing people of the benefit of having multiple resumes.  However, I do get a lot of pushback when a coachee thinks about the amount of time and effort it takes to create a brand-new resume for each job that interests her.  The good news is that there isn’t nearly as much to do as one might think.  In reality, a significant portion of your resume will be static from version to version.  Here’s a listing of what you won’t change:

  • Contact information
  • Educational institutions, dates attended and degrees granted
  • Employer names and locations, employment dates
  • Titles and positions held
  • Awards and special recognitions

So now let’s discuss when you should make revisions and how you should make them.

When to Make Revisions

As I already mentioned, it’s ideal to revise your resume every time you apply for a position; If that’s too much for you, at minimum revise your resume if you face any of the following scenarios:

  1. You are planning a career change.  While presumably your current resume adequately tells a great story, it likely misses the mark for your new career venture.  You need to revise your resume so that you are translating and conveying your current experiences in a way that someone in your new area can easily understand.
  2. You’ve done work that directly relates to what the new position requires, yet your resume doesn’t demonstrate it.  You need to revise your resume so that those responsibilities that highly correlate with the new position are adequately presented.
  3. You already applied for a similar position, yet you didn’t advance to the interview round.  You need to revise your resume, because it is failing to show your fit.

How to Make Revisions

Depending on the situation, this can mean a few minor tweaks to significant overhauls.  (Rule of thumb – if someone looks at you quizzically when you tell them what you want in your next role, you are in significant revision territory.)

  1. Moving from a chronological resume to a functionally formatted resume, is a change that doesn’t take a lot of work.  However, this is a great way to highlight older experiences that are relevant in a new position.  Functional resumes are also ideal for amplifying responsibilities and talents that in prior resume versions that were given short shrift.  Truth is – you can really benefit by switching to a functional resume and the necessary adjustments aren’t that great.  (Google “functional resume” you’ll get tons of examples on how to make the switch.)  This is a real bang for your buck option.   
  2. Rewording your bullet points to portray your skills and experiences in a fashion that screams you are a fit, fit, fit for the role – honestly, that can take some work.  However, if you truly want the new role and your career up to now is two, three or four degrees removed – it’s imperative.  

Recognizing that this is where the heaviest lifting comes in, here are a few examples to help you get started.

Functional change (this example is going from Supply Chain to Finance)

Current resume: Analyzed 27 vendor contracts and negotiated new contracts to reduce the number of vendors resulting in significant savings over a multi-year time horizon.

Revised resume: Analyzed 27 vendor contracts considering turnover ratios and percentage of supplies provided; negotiated new contracts reducing the number of vendors by two-thirds, improving key metrics by 8% resulting in $3MM in savings in the upcoming 5 years.

Key takeaway: Additional and specific facts and figures, it’s vital that this job seeker shows she can speak the language of her new function.

Industry change

Current resume: Manage a region covering 5 states and regularly meet with customers to assess product needs, share insights with headquarters and new product teams.

Revised resume: Manage a territory covering 5 states, regularly meet with client teams to assess merchandise and material requests, share insights with corporate stakeholders and R&D partners.

Key takeaway: The revised bullet point reflects the jargon that the new potential employer uses and thus illustrates that the job seeker can start and immediately fit.

Seeking a promotion

Current resume: Worked cross-functionally on a project that led to improved response times and higher satisfaction rates.

Revised resume: Analyzed key metrics, including response times and satisfaction rates and then initiated a project to improve these measures.  Recruited cross-functional team members and delegated project responsibilities from start to finish.

Key takeaway: The latter bullet point shows the job seeker’s initiative, creativity and leadership, thus confirming that she is ready for both a new job and a promotion.

So now that you are convinced that multiple resumes are the way to go – get to work!  And good luck!

Kendell Brown is a member of the iRelaunch Career Coaching team. Founder of Ascension Careers and a relauncher herself, she works with clients with to ascertain and achieve their career goals via strategic planning, positioning and branding assessments, identifying transferrable skills and providing counsel for working through challenging work situations.

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