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Should I be writing a different resume for each job I apply for?

I know I should always write a unique cover letter for each position, but should I tailor each resume as well?


Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

I'd suggest you ask yourself if your last used/standard version of your resume supports what your cover letter emphasizes for this opportunity. That may mean tweaking some content so that the reader can easily find what you want them to focus on in your resume.

Pat Krueger
Title: CFO
Company: PMK Strategies and Accounting Services, ..
(CFO, PMK Strategies and Accounting Services, LLC) |

The day of an actual person reading over many resumes is over. As many companies rely on software to pull out the strategic words and phrases, in order to have you considered further or not, you have to get past the computer. So if you do not tailor each resume to the job, then you likely will lose an opportunity to even be interviewed. Many companies are not even reviewing cover letters, so if it is not in the resume, it is not considered. This does not mean you should change your skills to things you have not done, but you do need to consider how the prospective employer is wording the skill sets they are looking for.

For my resume, I include a functional listing of highlights on the first page of my resume, that I can amend to more closely fit the wording of the prospective employer's needs. I then follow that with the chronological work history. That way, I do not change the work history each time, but I am emphasizing the key words and phrases so that my resume will actually land on a real person's desk. In this digital age, a computer is likely pulling my credentials for further consideration, or leaving me by the wayside; I use every opportunity I can to get further consideration.

Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

"The day of an actual person reading over many resumes is over. "

I would say that is ONLY a true statement IF you are playing the posted position game. Otherwise, it is definitely NOT a true statement.

Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

No! What will end up happening is you will get a job at a place that you will not be a fit for either professionally or culturally. Check out this link here on Proformative that addresses this:

As some will say, don't try to be everything to everyone. Consider enlisting the help of an expert also that can help you distinguish yourself from other candidates.

Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

"As some will say, don't try to be everything to everyone."

Now those are some familiar words, Chris! I totally agree.

If you are playing the largely ineffective posted position game, then by default you are trying to be all things to all people and may necessitate constantly changing your resume. There are a couple of challenges with doing so.

- you aren't well-positioned from your strengths
- you can't really tell what is working and what isn't on your resume because you are constantly changing it
- constant changes to a resume increase the chances of errors

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

How could you remember which resume (assuming custom made resumes) went to which emploerrif you were contacted away from your computer? That's why it's not the beat if ideas.

Unless you are trying to get let's say a COO Job (vs CFO) and your resume for that position leans more heavily on operations then financial, but has all the same jobs, positions etc.

Topic Expert
Mark Richards
Title: VP Operations and Finance
Company: VP / CFO - Private Company
(VP Operations and Finance, VP / CFO - Private Company) |

During my search I created a resume version for each of the role/industry to which I was typically applied (I had 4 versions). This helped me be more specific for each role and the upfront work paid off in lower admin time in adjusting my resume to fit an open role.

Before you hit submit, put yourself in the role of two people and write down 2-3 items they will be specifically looking for in the resume.

1) Screening HR person - matching qualifications against role requirements, they will be using their ATS (keywords, titles, etc.) as their initial screening.

2) Hiring Manager - finding people who offer best promise to deliver. What are both immediate and near-term issues within the company (e.g. recent series of acquisitions, lower than expected performance, etc.).

I did a quick check on my resume to either add new bullets to emphasize an experience (e.g. working through low profitability), rearrange bullet points (e.g. move up revenue generation support), or add specific terms. I also looked for recurring terms in their job description - if appropriate I would include those as well.

This may sounds like a parlor trick, but it's just making it easier for them to translate your experience and make you stand out from the pile.

For example, I had a CFO for SaaS firm version, there are specific areas that are important to any SaaS firm - so was easy to update to meet an opportunity and provide specific experiences.

One last tip to get you past the ATS screening and in front of a human - adding words for the Database only.

Hope this helps.


Robert Ewalt
Title: Exam Development Manager
Company: Institute of Certified Management Accoun..
(Exam Development Manager, Institute of Certified Management Accountants) |

I say yes, tailor the resume to fit the job description. It is relatively easy to do, especially for a functional resume. You can thus highlight how you meet the specific requirements. In the old, pre-word processor days, we would have a print shop print 100 - 200 resumes (all the same of course), and type a cover letter on similar paper.

Mark Matheny
Title: VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis
Company: Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis, Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)) |

I could see making some minor changes if it highlights areas that address an identified need but it should not be massive rewrites. If that is necessary, it would seem that the resume was too granular to start with.

Topic Expert
Linda Wright
Title: Consultant
Company: Wright Consulting
(Consultant, Wright Consulting) |

I agree with the risk in having too many versions of your resume out there. However, there is merit to adjusting your summary to include any key words or skills that you have and are important to the hiring company. For example, you may take SOX key controls for granted, but, if emphasized in the posting, might be worth including; you might include SAP experience if there is a looming project in the new role.

Greg Melsen
Title: VP - Finance, Treasurer & CFO
Company: Techne Corporation
(VP - Finance, Treasurer & CFO, Techne Corporation) |

My experience suggests that a strong introductory reference supplemented with a cover letter highlighting skills and background that match the opportunity is the most effective approach. The cover letter can emphasize skills and background that match the company's needs. The hiring company will likely immediately review your LinkedIn site and do other independent research. This approach will allow the resume to remain consistent with the information that is publicly available while still demonstrating your interest and the ways you can add value to the hiring company.

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