Do You Need More than One Resume (Here’s a Hint: YES!)

Chances are if we asked you to take a quick assessment of your closet at the moment you’d have a variety of outfits and accessories to choose from.  There’s that fancy pair of dress shoes, several variations on slacks or pants, and an assortment of tops. And don’t even get us started on the outerwear.  A few degrees temperature variation or a chance of rain and you could have an entire wardrobe change. You see, when it comes to clothes we all instinctively know that one choice just isn’t enough to fit every occasion.

As it turns out, much the same logic applies to your professional resume.  This is especially true the longer and more varied your work history becomes.  Unlike the accepted truth of a varied wardrobe, however, most applicants maintain only a single variation of their professional CV.  At best, this can leave candidates scrambling to make last minute changes when a new position comes open that is slightly different from their last career move.  At best having only one version of your resume can feel much like trying to cram a square experience peg into a round job description hole.

In short, you do indeed need more than one resume in order to help put your best foot forward and be prepared when employment opportunity comes knocking.  Want to hear more or not sure where to start? Never fear! Rescue My Resumes is here with the how’s and why’s to help fill your CV gaps and get you prepared for, well, any opportunity that may arise.

When Multiple Resumes Make Sense

As we mentioned above, many individuals should be maintaining multiple resumes, regardless of whether they are currently on the active job hunt.  The longer and more varied experience you have the more important separating out positions and employers may become. Say, for example, that you began your career with a strong bent towards customer service.  Perhaps you had five or so years working in a call center, handling customer complaints or otherwise helping promote goodwill with a brand.

After a few years in these types of positions, you find yourself offered a role working on the front lines of sales.  Maybe this morphed into a management position, still on the customer-facing side. All of a sudden an opportunity to head up the customer relations department of a company in your industry opens up.  Obviously, you’re qualified, but your standard resume that lists your call center experience well towards the end may not stress the hard-won skills you possess in that area of work. You may need a second version of your resume that lists your prior work in a different order or one that adds in additional details about your call center experience to show just how qualified you would be for a management role in the field.

Similarly, it’s a rare employee that comes straight out of high school or college and knows exactly what career track they want to head down.  Perhaps you had a period of time in your late teens and 20’s where you spent a year or two in several different fields with wildly different job duties.  Having all of this information on one resume can often make a candidate appear unfocused or undedicated. Worse yet, some employers may assume that you were unable to hold down a job or were terminated, setting up presumptions that could have your resume getting looked over even where your experience would leave you highly qualified.

Organizing and Separating Your Resume Info

Now that we’ve laid out the hiccups that may be encountered when trying to use a single resume to fit every scenario, its time to discuss methods for rectifying the potential problem.  If you have distinct career tracks you should separate those fields into two or more resumes, each with a focus on the industries or specific positions you’ve held. Since most resumes should be no more than a page in length, this exercise will also assist in developing CV brevity.  

Another solution for would-be job seekers is to create a master document that includes all of your work experience grouped by profession or listed in chronological order.  This will serve as your career drawing board of sorts. This will allow you to maintain a skeleton resume with your relevant education, contact, and certification information to serve as the starting spot for future resumes.  When a position in which you’re interested pops up, simply open up your skeleton template and your master experience file and cut and paste the most relevant work experience.

Not only will the above method allow you to quickly create custom resumes for various positions, but it will also help counter faulty memory and keep you from having to reinvent the wheel every time you’re looking to apply for a new position.  Writing down your relevant job duties, accomplishments and skillsets from each position, as you progress, keeps the information more accurate and can also help you look back in personal and professional reflection.

Final Multi-Resume Observations

Last but not least, it’s important to note that multiple resumes can be useful tools but may not be the right approach for every candidate.  Additionally, resumes are rarely ever cookie cutter propositions and every application submission should be personalized for the job you’re after.

Thoroughly review the job description of the desired position and select the most applicable experience to highlight the reasons you’d make a great fit for the role.  If you’re not sure where to begin or need additional guidance, is here to provide additional guidance or help you craft a brand new resume from scratch.  In the fast-moving job hiring market, it’s important to be ready to act to help score a career-making position so don’t wait or leave yourself scrambling.

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