A resume is one of your most important tools in your job search. A well-written one is your ticket to an interview, and maybe your dream job. Its contents should be able to catch the recruiter's eye in a matter of seconds before they decide to place you in the "no" pile.
Tailoring your resume to the position you will be applying for is a golden rule in successful resume writing. And if you really want to ensure you get the job with maximum efficiency, you should create three versions of your resume.
Why three versions instead of just one? Well, you could keep customizing just one resume copy but this can be tiring to constantly change. And if you will be applying to different positions that are not similar in industry or function, you would need to have more than one version on hand.
Let's take a look at the different resume structures you should always have at hand:.
1. Standard Version
This is the most basic type of your resume. It's an all-rounder that you can upload to a job portal or print out when you'll be attending a job fair. Use it when you are looking for a job that's similar in business function and within the same industry. It's also the longest version since you can include most of your work history and skill sets. But, do limit your standard resume to 2-3 pages in total.
The standard version should show recruiters that you have the experience and the accumulated skills that fit the role you are applying for. Your former positions and responsibilities would be a close match to what the new job requires, telling recruiters that you have the expertise to become a strong asset to the company.
2. Tailored Version
If you're applying for a different position yet it's still in the same industry as your old job, you need to tailor your resume to highlight which of your previous experiences are just as relevant for the new position. Doing so will increase your chances of getting hired, even if you didn't have exactly the same responsibilities stated in the target job description.
Here, your resume must be edited to show only the most relevant work experience and competencies. You could use more related keywords from the target job description so your resume receives a quick "yes" from recruiters and applicant tracking systems. Keep this one shorter than your standard version since you will be concentrating only on relevant experiences and not your whole job history.
3 Skills-Based Version
As we explore different career paths, there will come a time where we want to transition to a completely new industry in a very different role. When you apply, you can't rely on your functional competencies to convince recruiters that you are just as suitable as other applicants for the job.
For this situation, a standard resume would show too many gaps since it mostly relies on your work history. So, you need to use a functional version that highlights the length of your working experience and the transferable skills you have refined in those years. Emphasize ones like your problem solving, leadership, and team collaboration skills. Back them up with not just job experiences but also volunteer and internship experiences, if any. We want recruiters to see that you have the professional skills to contribute, despite being new to the industry.
The logic behind creating three resume alternatives is that one size does not fit all. We want to leave a strong impression on hiring managers, so just a single, generic resume is not enough to help you ensure success. If you're someone who has varying plans for their career, you will need to be familiar with each of these versions of resumes to help you explore your opportunities to the fullest.
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