Do I Need More Than One Resume?
You know that you must tailor your resume to a job description. So then, how many resumes do you need? Probably not more than one, but maybe.
By: Grace Mitchell | Contributor for Let’s Eat, Grandma
If you’ve spent any length of time reading Let’s Eat, Grandma’s blog or listening to our podcast, you’ve likely seen us advise you to tailor your resume to each job description. However, that doesn’t mean you need to write a brand new resume for every job! Ultimately, the number of resumes you need varies depending on how many different types of jobs you’re applying for.
Your job search situation will determine whether you need to just slightly tweak the same resume for each job, or have multiple different versions of the resume handy. Don’t worry, though—we’ll guide you through it!
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Pre-Work: Know What You Want
Before you go forward deciding the right number of resumes for you, it’s crucial to define a clear job target.
On an episode of our Career Warrior Podcast, career coach Lisa Lewis-Miller outlines four pillars to decide your new career direction: strengths, interests, personality, and lifestyle goals.
Your strengths are those tasks that ignite your curiosity and ability. Note these aren’t just what you’re good at. You may be a pro at data entry, but if punching numbers makes you want to punch a wall, don’t call it a strength.
Interests are what you’re passionate about, and personality is how you want to relate to your work. Are you an introvert or extrovert? Do you want your coworkers to consider you family, or do you prefer more professional distance?
Finally, the lifestyle pillar considers the level of flexibility, benefits, and pay that most align with what you want in life.
Different people will gravitate toward different pillars. Also, a person’s primary pillars can shift over time. Your life circumstances change over the years – the arrival of your first child, the onset of a disability – and priorities shift. Interests shift too: Think of how you likely don’t have the same favorite bands you did when you started high school.
Listing what falls under each pillar and then ordering the pillars based on what’s most important to you right now can help you determine what a fulfilling career would look like.
If you want to go more in-depth with exploring your ideal career through the four pillars, this blog will help. If you’re pretty clear on what you’re looking for, though, read on!
Step 1: Start with a Master Resume
Once you’ve got a clear target for your job search, take the most recent version of your resume and turn it into a master document to work from.
Write out every job you’ve had in your career thus far and include every accomplishment. Don’t worry about editing yet – this version is just a reference document. You will not send this out to apply for a job! Your master resume is for your eyes only, so it doesn’t have to be a specific length. Your master resume should turn out looking more like a LinkedIn profile than your average resume in that it spares no detail.
Also, don’t forget about volunteer work, additional language skills, and anything else that might be relevant. Ideally, your master resume will become a living document you can easily pull from and update throughout your career.
Your master resume can go as far back as you like, but keep in mind including experience from 15-20 years ago isn’t ideal. You could even open the door for age discrimination if you include that experience in your resume.
Step 2: Determine the Categories of Jobs You’re Applying To
Now that you have your master resume, it’s time to look at the job descriptions. What different types of jobs are you applying for? Are you only interested in working as a Web Developer? Or would you be just as happy in a Technical Support role?
If you find you’re interested in job titles in multiple distinct categories, we recommend creating a resume version for each one.
For example, Content Writing and Project Management jobs will need different versions of your resume, whereas you could probably just tweak one resume version to apply for Copywriting and Content Writing jobs.
Use your best judgment here in determining how similar the jobs you’re interested in are. Categories like Content Writing vs. Social Media might necessitate distinct versions, or they might not.
If you determine you only have one type of job in mind, you only need to create one version of your resume. Even so, you’ll still need to tailor this resume to each specific posting, so don’t stop now.
Step 3: Create Your Resume Versions, and Tweak Them for Each Job Posting
This is where you’ll whittle your master resume into different resume versions. Consider which skills and experiences are relevant to each type of job, then cut what’s not relevant and emphasize what is for each job category. The recruiters for your Human Resources positions aren’t likely to hire you based on your status as a licensed pilot (though props to you for following your dreams!)
This is where you start to pay attention to formatting. You’ll also pare each version down to 1-2 pages depending on your level of experience.
It’s easiest to keep your master resume saved and simply copy and paste relevant experience into each new version. That way, you won’t have to start from scratch each time you job hunt.
For each job posting you apply for, first determine which resume version you should use. Then tweak it based on the keywords from that job description. This step won’t take long, and it gets easier the more you do it.
Send Your Resumes Forth, and Conquer the Job Market
Once you’ve written your resume versions and tailored them accordingly, it’s time to send them out there to get those interviews!
And if you need more serious assistance with your resume, check out how our professional resume writers can help. (We can even write multiple versions of your resume or cover letter!)
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