Different versions of a resume? Pattie Hunt Sinacole shares advice

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Q: I am working with a career counselor as I am hunting for a new job.  I was at the same company for 25 years and was recently let go.  I am lucky because I have a severance package, so I am able to be thoughtful about my next role and my job search.  I am wondering your opinion.  Should I be changing my resume for each role?  I am applying for about four roles per week since I being more selective.  I have two areas of expertise and sometimes I feel like I could tailor my resume a bit better if I could edit it. 

A:  There may be differing opinions from others in field of HR, talent acquisition and career management.  However, I do have a strong opinion on this topic.

Yes, I think you can tailor your resume to different roles.  However (and this is a big however), you must remember which one you have sent to which company for which role.  You could call your original version of your resume by your last name and the year, e.g., Sinacole 2022.  If you are more focused on interim HR management roles, you could highlight your experience working in interim roles and you could call it Sinacole HR Management 2022.  You don’t want to make it obvious to an employer that you have several different versions.  Specifically, you should not label your resumes Sinacole version 1 and Sinacole version 2, or something similar.  If an employer questions you and asks if you have different versions, always be truthful.  You can explain that yes, you have different versions and your intent is to highlight specific areas of your background.  In each version of your resume, you can add or include skills that may be mentioned in a job description or job posting.  Sometimes a candidate cannot include every skill or experience.  You can also re-order qualifications or skills.  For a technical role, you may want to move your technical skills to the top of your resume.  For a role that may require more management skills, you may want to include management skills at the top of your resume.  If you are using a reverse chronological resume with bullets, you may want to re-order bullets and include the most relevant at the top of role.

In any resume, be truthful.  Do not state you have experience that you do not have.  Do not include a degree or certification if you have not completed the requirements of a degree or certification.

Finally, proof, proof and proof again.  I still see manger vs. manager on resumes!  Sometimes spellcheck doesn’t catch everything.

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