Should You Tailor Your Resume?
I say, "no." But many disagree with me. Even experts. So why am I so adamant that job seekers have just one version of their resume?
When you tailor a shirt, the goal is to make it fit you, and only you. You are taking an an article of clothing and doing whatever is necessary to adapt it to your body. But your resume is a document that is about you - your accomplishments, achievements, trajectory of your career. You are who you are; you are what you've done. So how is that tailorable? How is that information adaptable?
When clients tell me that they have several versions of their resume, and that they choose one over another if it's a better "fit" for a particular job, my question is this:
are you a different person when you apply for Job A over Job B? No? Then why would your value proposition change?
People who are open to a variety of career options are most insistent that they need to tailor their resume. They believe that by emphasizing one thing over another, or eliminating certain job functions, that they're focusing each version of their resume on what a particular employer is looking for. But they are (IMHO) doing themselves a disservice. Instead, doesn't it make more sense to tailor the list of jobs you apply for to better fit who you actually are? Yes, this probably means that the number of jobs that are a good fit is smaller, but that's a good thing. As I wrote in 253 Jobs I didn't Get," applying for everything that seems remotely suitable is highly unproductive behavior.
Focus on what fits. Don't tailor yourself to fit jobs.
So, please don't tweak or tailor your resume. Just be certain that your resume represents who you are and what you do. Articulate your value proposition. When reviewing potential positions to apply for, find openings for which your value proposition will resonate with the employer. In other words, let your resume showcase your authentic self.
Would you like help crafting your resume that earns interviews for the positions you're best suited for? I'm Lynda Spiegel, founder of Rising Star Resumes, a career coaching and resume writing service. With 15+ years’ experience as a human resources professional, I leverage my experience to help professionals in a variety of industries achieve their career goals. Bragging rights earned as a Wall Street Journal Expert Panelist. Email Lynda@risingstarresumes.net or in the U.S. or Canada call (718) 897 – 5074