How many versions of your resume do you have?
Posted by Molly Wendell // in Job Search
Let’s see, there’s Jane Francis MBA.doc and JaneFrancis2008.doc, JFrancisResume1a.doc, jf2vers3 .doc, myresumenew.doc and probably a whole host of others. How many should you have? That’s a great question. And the answer is pretty clear.
But before I tell you the answer, let me remind you of what it’s like to hire someone. You remember, right? You remember going through resume after resume…with not one person who fit exactly what you were looking for. You have a strong engineering background. What? This is a marketing position. I can’t make the leap that engineering is a good training ground for marketing – especially when so many brilliant, experienced marketing minds are out there! You’re a CFO in the Manufacturing industry? What are you doing applying for this VP of Finance position in Insurance? You dealt with widgets. We deal with taking people’s money month after month with the hopes of never actually having to deliver a product or service to anyone.
But then, after poring through hundreds of resumes, you see it. You see the one that seems like it was written for the job! And maybe. Just maybe. It was.
Because maybe, just maybe, the person you chanced upon was not only qualified, but very, very smart. And maybe that person went through the job description line by line, figured out what they did relative to each point somewhere in their past, and produced a purely customized version of their resume. And lo and behold, you have a perfect fit! (The more I think about this, the more I think it would be a great business idea! Input your resume. Input the job description. Press Blend. And out comes your personalized resume for that specific job. I think I’ll call it the Resumixer!)
But wait, you say, is that fair? Sure. It’s called positioning. Companies do it all the time. Take a look at these examples.
Fact: Unemployment rate hits 8%.
Positioning: Americans having more free time than ever.
Fact: Intel lays off 5,000 workers.
Positioning: Intel develops new process that increases company productivity by 32%.
Here’s the real question you have to ask yourself: With the background, experience and skill set I have, do I truly believe that I could do the job? Do I truly believe that I’m capable of performing at the highest levels in this position? Am I truly the best person for this job? And if yes is the answer, then you need to get yourself in the game with your customized resume!
Do not leave it up to HR or the hiring manager to make the leap based on what you used to do. You need to be qualified based on what they want done now. They don’t have time to read between the lines. You don’t have time nor can you afford to leave it in their hands!
Now don’t for a second think that I’m suggesting you lie. Never, never, never lie on your resume! I am suggesting, however, that you can change the wording to say essentially the same thing. Here’s what some repositioning might look like:
Requirement: Experience in the pharmaceutical industry.
Your Background: Managed 15 large accounts, two of which were in the Pharma industry.
Positioning: Developed new business in the pharmaceutical industry increasing year over year sales by 50%.
While you’re at it, you should figure out how to leverage that pharmaceutical industry conference/golf outing you attended – where you met (i.e., developed relationships) with more than 30 suppliers of pharma products.
Don’t you think the hiring managers will realize that I did this? No. I don’t. Because most people don’t even take the time to change their resume. Most people are far too lazy. Most people don’t even send a cover email. Most people don’t even worry about the format of their resume (and by the way, most people should!). Most people just hit “apply” and send their same old generic resume – the one that’s all things to no one.
So back to the original question: How many versions of a resume should you have? The answer is infinite. You should have a custom resume for every position you apply (maybe now you’ll be a little more discriminating in what you apply for!). But, won’t that take a long time? Sure it will. But you know what won’t take a long time? The hiring manager pressing the delete button because your background doesn’t match the job description. That will be very quick. Good thing you didn’t spend a lot of time on it, right?!