An investment in multiple resumes usually doesn’t pay off the way people intend them to. There are exceptions to the rule, but for the most part this is usually true. Of course, when you think about it, not everybody fits in a box or a job the way a company might write a description so there are usually multiple jobs that people qualify for. However, just because you’re qualified for a job doesn’t mean that it is something you should be pursuing.
Let me explain. When I was a recruiter, often IT candidates had several different IT disciplines in their toolkit. At the same time they could be a project manager, a program manager, a business analyst, a developer, a QA tester–all of that balled into one. As a recruiter, I wanted my candidates to be as marketable as possible for as many jobs as possible, especially the candidates that I knew were really great performers and would represent the firm very well. When I transitioned into being a career coach, I have a much different perspective on the strategy of having multiple resumes.
From a recruiting perspective, you can be much more marketable for many more jobs. If you are, say, a consultant, that’s a good thing. There’s a higher probability of you being able to land your next gig. Even though you may have skill sets in various different IT disciplines, you still can be niched in clinical trials, academic pursuits, financial applications or merchant services and still continue to get work as a consultant in those various positions.
However, people who are searching for a full-time opportunity have two choices if they are one of those people who have multiple disciplines. Number one is to target a company that needs you to fill all those jobs simultaneously. They’re usually the starter companies, the smaller companies, or the flat organizations. They usually want people with dynamic backgrounds to come in who can plug-in wherever. Those are the types of situations where, if you have a varied toolkit or a skill set and you want to be able to apply that in different ways every day, then that would be a really good target for you.
However, if you’re looking for larger organizations where positions tend to be more siloed and you’re one of these people with a varying background, you can spend a lot of time writing and sending your multiple resumes to various job descriptions that ask for a specific title and get very few results. This can make you feel you are undesirable to that company. From the company’s perspective, especially if they see one candidate applying for multiple positions, it looks unfavorable. It looks risky. It makes you look like either you don’t know what you want or that you’d pretty much take anything.
Think about the kinds of companies that would be attracted to a candidate who’d be willing to take anything. Not many good companies want to hire a candidate who is willing to take anything, unless they’re willing to offer you the job where you have to be willing to do anything on the job. I know there are a lot of job seekers out there who are in that situation. You might have been applying to multiple jobs for a long period of time and getting very few results and feeling like at this point you just have to be desperate. You have to apply to anything. You have to accept anything that comes your way. The problem with that is you’ve come to a conclusion about your viability in the job market based on a flawed distribution strategy.
If you are one of those people with varying skill sets who is apply for a job in a larger corporation, the fastest way to your next opportunity is actually to pick the role that you want to spend most of your time doing and then market yourself specifically for that role. You can include information about the other disciplines that you also have experience with, but you have to brand yourself based on the primary position. Then when you get into that role, you can always look for ways to make yourself more valuable by lending those skills and talents to other departments or projects, other teammates, other supervisors.
A résumé is an investment. My goal as a résumé writer and a career coach is that when you make that investment, you get a return on that investment. A return on your investment that a professional résumé produces is engagement, interviews, and ultimately a job offer. Not just any job offer, but a job offer that you find desirable that enables you to really thrive and succeed in your career with the optimum career and income growth.
So before you make a decision to have multiple résumés, think about who it is you’re targeting as an employer. If you are targeting smaller startups, family-owned businesses or flat organizations—places where they like people to have multiple hats, that’s an opportunity for you to brand yourself as a multi-skilled talent. You must make sure that you’re targeting a specific audience with your résumé so that you’re not wasting your time and then coming to conclusions about your viability based on a lack of response.
Recruiters and employers are not going to take their time evaluating your resume in detail to determine where it is you fit best in their organization. They’d rather move on to somebody they are sure fits the job description. You are not increasing your competitive edge in the job market by being somebody who is multi-skilled and applying for siloed positions.
So you have some decisions to make. I am here to help you make them, if you need me to. When you are ready to choose one or the other, then you are ready to brand yourself and market yourself effectively to an employer who will appreciate what it is that you are bringing to the table and extend that job offer.