Customized resume or no?

posted in: Job Doc Blog | 0

Q: I have found that I am having more luck if I customize my resume and tailor it to a specific role.  Is this a common practice?  Do you have an opinion on this?

A: Great question.  Gone are the days when we had one resume, which was typeset and several hundred copies were printed at one time.  Today, most of us have our resumes online and we are able to tweak and edit as needed.

I think it is smart to tailor your resume to a specific job opening with a few caveats.  First, always be truthful.  Second, be aware of version control.  You don’t want to share several different versions with one company and cause confusion.  You want to be confident in your knowledge on which version was submitted and not openly acknowledge you have several versions.  As an example, you should not title one resume “Resume 2018 – sales version” or something similar.  That title tips off the reader that you have more than one version.  I have had hiring managers ask candidates the question “I see you submitted the sales version of your resume.  Can you also show me your regular resume so I can see your actual background?”  Instead, opt for a generic title like “Jane Smith – 2018 resume” even if this version might be the sales version of your resume.   Then, also be certain that you don’t make a comment or question like, “Let me find which version I sent you.”As the candidate, if you are applying for a sales role, you want to lead with information about quotas, achievement of results and perhaps information about your territory or one of the top deals you have closed.  Yet, if you are applying for a sales trainer role, you may want to include metrics around the return on the investment (ROI) of those participating in your training program, the number of participants you have trained and the names of your clients and the type of sale (business-to-business, inside sales, etc.). You might be a qualified candidate for both types of roles but you don’t necessarily want to share that with prospective employers.

There are some who might disagree with me and advise that candidates should have one resume and defend it.  The problem with that is the candidate may never get to defend it if they don’t pique the employer’s interest.

Sometime re-ordering bullets and some minor editing is enough to entice a company to contact a candidate.  If a few simple edits encourage interest in a candidate, I am all for it.  Remember, employers hire employees, the resume is merely an introduction.

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.