March 21, 2014 by Walter Cogan

Question: How many different resume versions do you have?
Answer: If you say just one you are hurting your chances of landing your next job.
You may be wondering why you may need multiple versions of your resume. The real question you should be asking yourself is why I don’t.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that job descriptions today are very specific. Hiring managers are looking for people with exact skills that closely resemble the experience they require for the position they need to fill. When it comes to technology jobs, the skills and experience are even more specific. Most people’s resumes however are what I call the “one size fits all” version.

The “once size fits all” resume typically includes everything the individual has ever done and is loaded up with information that has absolutely nothing to do the job you are applying for. If you are applying for a job that requires very specific skills, don’t force the reader to sift through your resume searching for the keywords they need. For example, if you are applying for a position that requires strong experience writing SQL queries, your experience with writing these queries should be clear and obvious at the very top of your resume. If the position also requires deep experience working with Microsoft Excel and Access, your experience should also include information about those skills at the very top of your resume.

As a person that reads resumes for a living, I have learned to scan them very quickly for the information I am seeking to find. If I don’t find the information I need quickly— I’m off to the next one. Hiring managers are doing the exact same thing. It is only after a quick scan and finding the information I need will I then begin reading the entire resume. I honestly don’t have enough time in a day to thoroughly and completely read every resume that comes into my possession. Hiring managers and human resource professionals may have even less time available than I do.

In conclusion, unless every job you apply for is the “exact” same job—your resume should highlight the exact experience the job description is seeking at the very top. If you apply for 10 different jobs that require different skills that you do in fact possess, tailor your resume 10 times to reflect those skills and place the information very near the top of your resume. By doing so, the reader will be enticed to read the balance of your resume and then learn precisely how good of a candidate you actually are.

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