How Many Versions of Your Resume Do You Need?

by Beverly Harvey

In today’s economy where hiring decision makers are extremely risk adverse and will only consider executives who are a “perfect fit” for the organization, it is important to target your resume.

However, many executives reason that they don’t want to miss out on any opportunities and therefore create one resume that showcases all of their functional areas of expertise as well as all of their knowledge, skills and abilities. When hiring decision makers read this type of resume, the message they receive is that of confusion. Most likely they will not take time to figure out what the candidate can do for their company because it’s buried in irrelevant information (as far as they’re concerned). Hiring decision makers may get the impression that the candidate is a jack of all trades and master of none. They may get the sense that the candidate won’t be able to focus on the functional role they’re filling. Or in today’s economy, they may assume that the candidate is desperate and will settle for anything, at any salary they offer, no matter how low.

How To Determine If You Need Multiple Versions

Since every hiring decision maker is looking for the “perfect fit,” you may need to create multiple versions of your resume when you are considering:

Multiple Roles: A few functional roles can be blended on the same resume. To determine which roles can be blended, use the job boards as a research tool. Search your favorite job board for positions with the functional roles in which you have an interest. Notice how many, and what types of companies or industries, blend the roles in which you are interested. If there is no blending what so ever, then you must create separate versions of your resume.

For example, some companies blend the following roles:

COO/CFO; CIO/CTO; Sales/Marketing; Sales/Business Development; and CMO/CBO. The larger the company, the more apt these roles are to broken out separately, however, in the small- and mid-size companies, you may find these roles blended. Many companies integrate the COO role into the CEO or CFO role. Likewise many companies combine all of their technology roles under a CFO, COO, CEO or engineering officer.

Similarly, only the larger companies have a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) or CBO (Chief Brand Officer) role. Many small- and mid-size companies integrate these roles under their marketing executive. So you will need to have more than one version of your resume if you intend to consider companies of all sizes.

Multiple Levels: If you are seeking a senior management position or a middle management position you will need to create two resumes.

For example, if you will be pursuing a CFO role or a Director of Finance role, you will need two versions. The reason being, if you write a resume strong enough to land the CFO role, you will over qualify yourself for the director-level role. Conversely, if you write a resume for a director-level role, you will under qualify yourself for the CFO role.

Multiple Industries: Most hiring decision makers are looking for people with industry experience. If you are targeting a specific industry, create a resume that highlights your experience in the industry. If you do not have experience in the industry, create a version that does not mention industry. While candidates recognize that their role is transportable across multiple industries, the truth of the matter is that hiring decision makers almost always require industry experience.

Multiple Company Sizes: Most hiring decision makers are looking for executives who have led a company of similar size and standing. If you are considering companies of all sizes, create different versions of your resume. For example, if you have been leading a multi-billion dollar company, you may want to consider converting any accomplishments stated in dollars to percentages so that you don’t over qualify yourself. Additionally, if you are pursing a position in a company that is larger than any you have worked in, you may want to convert dollars to percentages to seemingly even the playing field.

Other Considerations: Organizational structure, geographical orientation, business or value drivers, growth style and rate, product/service types, and customer types. You may need to create multiple versions based on these considerations as well.

While creating multiple versions takes considerable more effort, it IS worth it. When posting your resume to job boards, you will need to pick one version. However, that shouldn’t’t be much of a concern since a miniscule number of executives land a position via job boards. If you decide to post your resume on a job board, post the version focused on the position for which you are the most qualified.

Leave a Comment