Are You Customizing EVERY Resume You Send Out?

by Beverly Harvey

You should be. Even if you’ve had your resume professionally written, one size does not fit all in this extremely competitive job search market. You need to address each position you pursue specifically. This is relevant whether you’re targeting unadvertised opportunities or advertised positions. Here are a few areas that will need to be tailored:

Function – While broad and diverse functional experience across all phases of the business is great, you need to target each resume for the opportunity you are pursuing. If you’re pursuing multiple job titles (for example, president, chief financial officer, chief information or technology officer, or chief operations executive), you need more than one version of your resume. In these competitive times, you actually need one resume for each function. Recruiters are looking for a very specific candidate and presenting yourself too broadly may be confusing, inundating or intimidating. This is not to say that you should eliminate all the information about the other functional areas, it’s saying that you need to showcase one function more prevalently than the others. The analogy I like to use is that of a balance scale – you need to add enough weight to one side of the scale so that it tips the scale. You do not want a perfectly balanced scale. You’ll still want to include all of your functional areas of your expertise … you’ll just focus each resume on one specific functional area.

Industry – Nearly every industry has their own set of buzzwords, jargon and language. They also have unique challenges and trends. You should research each industry in which you’ll be pursuing a position by digging into the industry’s trade associations. Look for conferences being held and study the topics the speakers will be covering. The topics will always be related to the challenges and issues the industry is facing and the trends and direction in which they’re headed.

While many of you have told me that your functional expertise crosses numerous different industries, you have also stated that when you are hiring, you look for someone with industry experience! As such, if you don’t have industry experience, you need to be able to present a compelling case regarding how your experience will transfer and deliver a return on investment.

Size of Company – Recruiters look for candidates who have worked in a company comparable to the size of their company or the company they’re representing. If you have not clearly defined how the companies you have worked for compare to the size of the company with the opportunity, than consider adding or revising that information. If you’ve worked in companies that are considerably larger than the target company, consider omitting the size of the entire company and focus more on a division or business unit that would be more relevant to the target company.

Profit & Loss or Budget Size – Recruiters look for candidates who have held financial responsibility similar to that of the position they’re filling. If you have not defined the size of the profit and loss responsibility you have held or the size of the budget you have managed, consider adding that information. If you have managed P&Ls and budgets much larger than the recruiter is requiring, consider omitting the size of the financials for the entire company and instead focus on the financials of a division, business unit, group or project.

Team Size – Recruiters look for candidates who have led and managed teams similar to that of their open position. Make sure your resume contains the size of the team you managed. If you’ve led and managed teams much larger then the company is requiring, than you may just want to mention your number of direct reports. If you haven’t managed teams of a similar size, you might want to include the number of people impacted by your role or the number of people you influence despite the fact that they don’t directly report to you. This can be an even greater demonstration of your leadership skills.

Local, National, International Experience – Recruiters look at the companies you’ve worked for to see if you have similar geographical experience. If the recruiter is representing a regional or national company, you may need to adjust your resume to reflect the same type of geographical situation. If your resume references international experience frequently, you may want to eliminate a few of those references, unless of course, you know for a fact that the company is looking to expand into the international arena.

Other similarities recruiters look for include, the company’s business model, industry ranking, products and services, and company culture.

The goal is to align your resume with as many of these points as you can. In some cases you may need to tone down the resume so you don’t appear over qualified and in other cases you may need to up-level your resume to fit the requirements.

While this is a lot of work, you will soon develop a portfolio of resumes that you can use repeatedly for similar types of positions.

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