We all know how important a strong resume is when applying for jobs. It's often your first impression and the key to getting interviews.
In addition to being well-organized, easy to read, and in the right format, your resume also needs to be tailored to the position you’re applying for in order to improve your chances of getting past applicant tracking systems (the automated “scanners” many companies use to review resumes and narrow down their applicant lists).
Whether you’re applying for similar jobs or targeting a wide variety of roles, this aspect of resume writing may have you wondering:
How many resumes should you have?
Do you really need different resumes for different jobs?
We asked Erin Steiner, a Certified Advanced Resume Writer at iHire, for her thoughts on these common questions from job seekers.
“While you may not need to rework your resume for every job application completely, you should at least take the time to carefully review the job ad and see what that particular company is looking for,” said Steiner.
Look at your resume and the job posting side by side:
“Ensure you have the right keywords that match the specific job description, highlight your most relevant career information, and consider taking out anything that isn’t applicable to the role and could work against you. This will help you get past applicant tracking systems and impress the human reader on the other side,” recommended Steiner.
In general, you’ll want to adjust the title, summary, and skills section of your resume to match the position you’re applying for as closely as possible.
“This shouldn’t take long if you’re targeting very similar jobs,” said Steiner. “The few extra minutes you take will help you get through the ATS, stand out to the hiring manager, and show that you’ve done your research and are genuinely interested in their opening.”
If you’re applying to significantly different types of jobs, it’s best to give your entire document a close review and revise what you include in every section – title, summary, skills, experience, education, certifications, etc. – to ensure it aligns with the job posting.
Steiner provided this useful example:
“Let’s say you’re an administrative professional who recently graduated from a veterinary technician program. Your main goal is to work in a vet office, but you’re also applying to roles in other office settings to keep your options open. You’ll want to create one version of your resume that includes your veterinary skills, education, and credentials and another version that highlights your general administrative background.”
Also consider which resume format would be best given the position you’re targeting. In the example above, the standard chronological format could be best for general administrative roles, and the hybrid format could be best for veterinary opportunities.
As you make different resumes for different jobs, save new versions with the job titles in the file names to keep yourself organized. “Another great strategy is to create and save a ‘master’ version of your resume that you can return to time and again to edit for specific roles,” Steiner added.
Looking for more resume writing help? Check out our professional resume writing services and our portfolio tool, where you can add in your information and build custom resumes for specific jobs in just a few clicks.