Many of today’s job seekers have career experience in multiple fields and industries, and as such apply to many different types of positions during the course of their job search. For example, someone with a strong administrative background applying for administrative roles may also apply to marketing positions due to their relevant marketing experience. So, do job seekers who explore opportunities in more than one field need to tailor their resume to the specific industry and position for which they are applying? Our experts say absolutely yes.
Don’t Count on Your Cover Letter to Tell Your Story
According to Lauren MacArthur, partner at northeast recruitment firm WinterWyman, job seekers need to tweak their resume with the assumption that their cover letter will never be reviewed. “Cover letters are often disregarded, so your resume needs to stand out on its own,” MacArthur says. “Take the time to adjust your resume for every job, as each position has different requirements and may call for a new objective, a more detailed list of accomplishments, or more examples of duties that will be relevant to that position. Tailoring your resume allows you to emphasize the skills, talents and attributes that make you most qualified for the job.” MacArthur stresses that one resume isn’t always appropriate for each position, and the more a job seeker can highlight their skills and experience relevant to the position in question, the better.
Recruiters Deal With Thousands of Applicants
Billy Joe Cain, executive recruiter for gaming recruitment firm Mary-Margaret Network, cites the time constraints faced by most recruiters and hiring managers as one of the reasons why it is so critical job seekers tailor their resume to the position at hand. “If I have a stack of resumes that have specific details clearly delineated so I can match them to the job, and your resume requires me to guess at all, you get tossed,” Cain warns. Cain likens the process to a game of “Where’s Waldo” – if the HR manager has to search a resume for relevant experience, and feels that these qualifications are buried within experience that is not relevant, they may give up on the resume altogether and move on to the next.
Keywords Are King
Hank Boyer, president and CEO of Pennsylvania-based Boyer Management Group, says that in an effort to deal with applicant volume, many employers are turning to Applicant Tracking Software (ATS). “The ATS is programmed to look for a threshold of matching of specific keywords associated with each open position,” Boyer explains. “The net is that less than 10% of all resumes and applications make it through the ATS and are seen by human eyes.” Boyer cautions, “Unless the applicant has customized the application or resume to have a high correlation of the keywords associated with a specific position, the applicant’s resume / application will not ever get to a human decision maker.”
The same experts who tell us that resume tailoring is necessary also agree that how these individual documents are saved is also critical. Paul Cameron, president and senior technology recruiter at Chicago-based recruitment firm DriveStaff, Inc., says the key to managing multiple resumes is saving the documents with a file name that only the job seeker themselves will understand. “Saving the document as ‘resume – management’ says to the employer, ‘This is my management resume. If it doesn’t say what you need it to, don’t worry, I have lots more.’ Instead, save your management resume as FirstInitial.LastName, and your developer resume as FirstName.LastInitial, and another as your full name. It’s important the employer gets the impression that’s your only resume, and it happens to fit their position perfectly,” Cameron advises.
Our experts say that following these tips will go far to help a job seeker make the move from applicant to employee.