One Resume Does Not Fit All

Fit. It’s funny how much effort we put into fit in our everyday life–if our clothes are too big, we bring them to a tailor so that they fit; if we’re thrown into a new environment, we may change our approach so we fit in with the crowd.

Why then, when it comes to the job search, do people continue to send out the same resume for different types of positions, companies, and industries?

For first-time job seekers, this is a mistake I encounter far too often. I wanted to share some advice I’ve learned about resume tailoring throughout the years as a job seeker, hiring manager, and career services professional.

Know your brand.

Understand not only who you are, but also how others view you. Identify and assess your VIPS (values, interests, personality, and skills). If you do not know what “fabric” you have to work with, you will not be able to tailor the content of your resume.

Know your audience.

Once you understand who you are and what you bring to the table as a professional, highlight (in your bullet points) your VIPS that make you an asset to both the company and position. Your resume should not only show that you have the ability to do the job; it should tell the employer that your skills are good fit specifically for their organization.

Know the industry.

Keywords. Buzzwords. Not only do these help get your resume past the initial HR scan, but they also demonstrate that you have knowledge of industry language and trends. For each position you apply for/for each resume you submit, make sure the appropriate industry jargon is included in your bullet points. Also understand that different industries have different standards when it comes to the preferred format of resumes (and some prefer reels over resumes); do your research.

I often compare tailoring ones resume to selecting an outfit. If I had a pair of dark denim and a t-shirt, I would pair it with a blazer and pumps for the office; at night, I would simply change up the shoes and loose the jacket…maybe throw on some flashy jewelry for flare. Did I change the base of my outfit; no, but I did make sure it was appropriate as I moved between different environments. Think of your resume as your standard jeans and t-shirt. While your education and experiences stay the same, it’s the phrasing/formatting/keywords that will change as you apply for different types of positions across various industries.


Heather serves as a Career Advisor for Loyola University Chicago’s Career Development Center. In her role, she assists students and alumni with their overall career development through individual counseling, group workshops, and in the classroom via her Career and Life Planning Lab. Heather’s areas of expertise within the career space include networking, social media engagement, ePortfolios, resumes, and personal branding. Prior to working in Career Services, Heather worked for Sony Music in the areas of Marketing, Sales, and Promotion.She received her BA in Communication & Culture from Indiana University and her MA in Higher Education & Student Affairs from The Ohio State University – GO BUCKS! You can connect with Heather on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Related posts:

  1. Is Your Resume Lost in Translation?
  2. Resume 2.0
  3. No Mincing Words on Your Resume

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