Résumés: Does One Size Fit All

If you have more than one goal, knowing which direction to take your career can be quite the dilemma. Many job seekers are looking in more than one area of expertise, and their résumés often reflect that. The problem with this is that it can be confusing for hiring managers.

Of course, most employers hope to hire multi-taskers, but many times having a varied assortment of skills listed on your résumé can work against you. What you need to do is focus your résumé to suit a particular career, even if this means creating a different résumé for each different job pursuit.

So, I really need more than one résumé?If your career pursuits are similar, one résumé might be all you need. But if you're looking in various, unrelated industries or roles during your job search, you'll have to have a different résumé for each job goal.

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When you write a generic résumé for all of your career goals, it may be too extensive. Employers are looking for someone who is focused. You want the person in charge of hiring to look at your résumé and know immediately you're the right candidate to call in for the interview. Any uncertainty on the part of the hiring manager means the résumé is destined for the trash bin. Recruiters and hiring managers simply don't have time to waste reading wordy or confusing résumés.

Another way to tell if you need to write more than one résumé is by giving it a thorough review. Better yet, have a trusted friend or relative go over your résumé. Are your goals confusing? Are your skills across the board? Would a hiring manager have any trouble figuring out what it is you actually do? If so, you're in need of more than one résumé.

I sent out my résumés ... now what?You need to know if your résumé is effective, but how can you tell? One way is through tracking. It's not enough to create a résumé and send it off to employers. To be fully successful in your job hunt, you'll want to keep track of where it went and the type of response it received.

When you're ready to apply to jobs, make a spreadsheet or grab a notebook to record some information. List the date, the type of résumé sent and where it went. In addition to helping you remember where you applied, it will also help you to see how effective each résumé actually is.

For instance, are you garnering more interviews resulting from one résumé than another? Are you getting any call backs at all, or are your résumés being ignored? Keeping track of where résumés were sent, when, and the response (or lack of response) to each one will help in your job search.

If you find you're not receiving as many responses to your résumé as you had hoped, don't be dismayed. It just means a little more fine tuning is in order. Your primary goal is to catch the eye of the hiring manager. You simply can't do this with a generic résumé.