Resume Differentiation

(by Samantha Gonnelli, C2C Career Advisor)

The Importance of Having More Than Just One Resume

It’s hard enough to perfect just one resume; it’s difficult to think about creating and customizing another one. While this may seem like a daunting task, it doesn’t have to be, and doing so will help your resume stand out to employers across industries. It’s very likely that you’re applying to more than just one kind of position, especially if you are just graduating from college or graduate school; therefore, it will be helpful for you to have multiple resumes on hand so that you can apply to various jobs with ease.

To begin, I suggest compiling a master list of all of your previous experience, from which you can pull and then create as many resumes as necessary. For instance, if you are interested in obtaining a job as an Administrative Assistant, you may want to create a few different resumes, depending on the industries to which you are applying. You might create one for each type of organization at which you would like to work. In this instance, you might like to work at either a large corporation, a small business, or, perhaps, an educational institution. For the school jobs, your resume might emphasize your ability to interact well with people, your organizational skills, and your understanding of the legal parameters when it comes to releasing information, etc. For the traditional office jobs, you might emphasize your previous experience with answering phones, scheduling meetings, making travel arrangements, reporting expenses, and maintaining files. As another example, if you are seeking a job as a Social Worker, you might take a different approach and create just two resumes, one focusing on your experience working with children and adolescents and one focusing on your experience working with adults. This will come in handy if you are open to working with either population and are applying to jobs where you would work specifically with one of these populations.

My tips in general for differentiating your resumes are:

Organize your resumes by theme.
If you are applying to teaching and coaching jobs, you might organize your resume by “Teaching Experience” for the teaching jobs and “Leadership Experience” for the coaching jobs. Remember, each category of your resume should run chronologically.

Emphasize your educational background, certifications, publications, honors, and professional development differently, according to job.
Put what’s relevant to the particular job at the forefront.

Read job descriptions carefully and make amendments as necessary.
If most of the job descriptions for the job you are applying for mention the importance of working with different populations, make sure that you are specific with the kinds of populations you have worked with to show that you meet that requirement. Describe the size of the group you serve, their ages, gender, etc.

In general, with your resumes:

Be specific.
Use numbers wherever possible. How many people do you manage? How big are the audiences to which you present? How many customers do you serve each day? Numbers speak volumes and will give potential employers a better idea about the scope of your work. How large a team do you lead? Are you skilled with working with small groups/teams, big groups/teams, or both? Do you have strong customer service skills? Again, the data will help potential employers answer that question and want to learn more about you.

Know your audience.
Are you applying for a job at a design agency? How about an investment banking firm? Your resume should look different, aesthetically and otherwise, depending on the industry to which you are applying. You wouldn’t use the same resume for the two industries mentioned above. These industries value different knowledge, skills, and experience. One is more creative, while the other is more data-driven. If you sought the job in design, your design skills would be important to highlight right away and you may even look for an opportunity to show off some of those skills via your resume. On the other hand, for the banking job, you would likely opt for a brief, more traditional resume format that showcases your education, previous internships, and project experience more than anything. These resumes will help you get noticed in the industry in which you desire to work.

In summary:
Narrow down your job search and decide to which jobs you are going to apply.
Research your desired jobs. For instance, if you are interested in teaching, but would like to expand your job search to more than just traditional teaching positions, so that they include tutoring positions, coaching positions, position in nonprofits geared at assisting youth, etc., make a different resume for each after doing your homework on what each of these jobs necessitate. The resumes will be similar, of course, but you may organize your experience differently, emphasize certain aspects of your experience, etc. on each resume.
Get feedback on your resume from people in the industry, if possible. Turn to your alumni network, your contacts, etc. and ask how your resume reads for someone in the field. This will help you refine and make smart additions to your resume, which is always a work in progress. This important document is worth the time if it helps land you a job that’s right for you.

Happy applying!

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