Every Job Seeker Needs 3 Resumes and Here's Why

Man at job interview

 Getty Images/SDI Productions

A resume is not a single document, but a set of living tools meant to get the hiring manager’s attention—and quickly. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 39% of hiring managers said that they spent a minute or less reviewing a resume, and 23% said they spent less than 30 seconds. 

To hone a version of your resume that effectively communicates your skills and qualifications in that brief time, you need to be able to do several things on short notice:

  • Remember your achievements: Include those from last month or last year, and those that you aren’t using in your current role.
  • Highlight your most valuable skills: Recognize and emphasize those that will mean the most to hiring managers right now.
  • Quickly pitch yourself: As a solution to an employer’s problems, create enough interest to inspire them to learn more about you.

In other words, you don’t need one resume, you need three: a comprehensive, continuously updated work history; a targeted resume with your most relevant skills and experience; and a one-page teaser that advertises your most in-demand qualifications. 

What to Know Before You Get Started

The resume that you send to hiring managers is not a biography. You’re under no obligation to include every job, employer, certification, or credential in the resume that you share with employers. In fact, hiring managers would prefer that you didn’t. They want to see why you’re qualified for this job. 

You should always be honest about your experience and skills, but that doesn’t mean providing a comprehensive list of everything you’ve ever done and everything you’re able to do. Don’t be afraid to edit. 

Choose a resume format that suits your purpose. The standard chronological format, in which you list your most recent job first and work backward to your first position, has its uses (as we’ll see in a moment). But don’t choose it as a default. Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, you may want to choose a format that highlights your skills, such as a functional or combination resume

Customize your resume for every opportunity. Why should you invest the time and effort in adapting your resume to each position instead of sending a generic version? Because it works. In another CareerBuilder survey, 60% of hiring managers said that customized resumes were more likely to grab their attention.

Line up a proofreader now. Typos, grammar issues, factual errors, and formatting inconsistencies create an unprofessional first impression. Enlist a friend with a sharp eye and top-notch writing skills to check your resume before you send it to a potential employer. 

Test final versions before sending them. Send yourself a test email if you will be sending your resume electronically; print out a copy if you’re handing your resume to contacts in person. Make sure that your formatting holds up. 

A Comprehensive Resume That Includes Your Full Work History 

Have you ever sat down to write a resume for a job opportunity, only to draw a complete blank on the details of your achievements? Maybe you know that you closed several big deals this year, but you can’t remember the numbers clearly enough to quantify your wins. Or maybe you’re changing career tracks and need to demonstrate that you have transferable skills, but you just know that you’re forgetting something from two or three years ago. 

A comprehensive resume solves these problems before you experience them by giving you a running list of everything you’ve done. It includes:

  • Your skills and certifications: Include dates and exact names of courses and workshops as you added them.
  • Your most important projects and achievements: Include those that made or saved an employer money (with exact dollars and percentages). 
  • Your work history: Include job titles, employers, managers, and exact dates of employment. For this document, it’s fine to include jobs that seem unrelated to your overall career trajectory. Just be sure to be specific about the skills you acquired at each position. You never know when you might need to emphasize them during a career transition. 

This document is your master list of everything you’ve ever done. It’s unwieldy, all-inclusive, and definitely not intended for a hiring manager’s eyes. But it’s invaluable to you as a professional as you go through your career, and it will save you untold time and frustration as you struggle to highlight different skill sets to different employers. 

Need to get started on this document in mid-career? Take your most recent resume and fill it in whenever you have a moment to research. Here is an easy way to reconstruct your work history

Sample Comprehensive Resume 

This is a comprehensive resume example. Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or read the example below.

Comprehensive resume sample 2
 @ The Balance 2020

Sample Comprehensive Resume (Text Version)

Kate Green
46 Center Boulevard, Apt 2R
Long Island City, NY 11101
E-mail: me@kategreen.com
Phone: 917.555.3232

EXPERIENCE 

Gardening.co  New York, NY
The largest gardening resource on the web with 18 million monthly unique visitors 

Editor, Organic Channel (March 2020 - Present)

  • Identified, recruited, hired, and managed over 50 freelance writers with expertise in organic gardening
  • Created and managed editorial calendars across the channel
  • Developed content strategy across multiple channels, collaborating with other channel editors
  • Tracked site stats in Google Analytics 
  • Wrote and edited weekly newsletters (“Now Growing” – 250,000 subscribers; “5-Minute Gardener” – 110,000 subscribers; “Original Organics” – 172,000 subscribers) – Grew subscriber lists by average of 17% year-over-year, improved engagement by 8% in Q2 2020

Assistant Editor, Tools and Tips (June 2018 - March 2020)

  • Created and managed Gardening.co’s award-winning Instagram feed from inception through verification 
  • Consulted with advertising and business development about monetization process, resulting in additional revenue streams netting $250,000 through Q1 2020

Garden Girl Mag  Providence, RI
Award-winning, millennial-focused digital magazine with 10 million monthly unique visitors 

Editorial Assistant (January 2015 - June 2018)

  • Recruited influencers and managed their contributions to the site, including podcasts, video, and guest columns 
  • Researched, assigned, and edited tips content for social media and newsletters 
  • Wrote and managed house style guide and served as chair of the style committee. 
  • Copyedited and proofread blog posts, social media updates, and newsletters on tight deadlines 

Editorial Intern (May 2014 - December 2014)

  • Updated social media under close direction of editorial team 
  • Managed site content in WordPress
  • Interviewed experts and transcribed interviews 

Keith’s Clam Shack Providence, RI
Flagship store of beloved Providence seafood chain, serving thousands of customers each summer

Server (Summers, 2010 - 2014)

  • Delivered fast and friendly service at busy, sit-down restaurant
  • Answered customer queries and memorized evolving list of specials and menu cancellations
  • Prepared appetizers, drinks, and desserts
  • Cleaned and maintained food preparation and dining areas 
  • Managed daily restaurant closing and opening, depending on schedules, including reconciling cash drawers

Ace Plus Landscaping Providence, RI
Local landscaping company focusing on organic container gardening and green groundskeeping 

Crew member (Summers, 2010 - 2014)

  • Maintained vegetable and ornamental beds and containers
  • Identified pest and soil problems and treated issues using organic gardening methods
  • Removed weeds, pruned trees and shrubs, planted seeds and seedlings 
  • Worked on assigned tasks as needed, collaborating with other crew members 

EDUCATION
Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature 2014, Island College, Providence, RI
Included coursework on copyediting, grammar and usage, and digital journalism. 

Certificate, Content Strategy and Storytelling, Northwest Pacific University Online
Included coursework on cross-channel content planning, content audits, Google Analytics, social media, etc. 

Certificate, Content Marketing, Hubspot
Included primers on building a content creation framework and SEO

SPECIALTIES: Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, writing, blogging, editing, copyediting, proofreading, hiring and managing contributors and freelancers, SEO, WordPress, Google Analytics, Hootsuite, style guides, social media, content strategy 

A Targeted Resume for Your Current Job Search

When you’re job searching, your focus narrows. You may have a specific job title in mind; if you’re looking at more than one type of role, they’re likely to be related. Therefore, it makes sense to create a targeted resume for your search. 

  • Use this resume as a template: Adapt it for each position, being sure to match your qualifications to each job advertisement. Include keywords that are relevant for each position. 
  • Keep this resume concise and to the point: If possible, limit it to one page. Consider using a resume profile to highlight your most relevant skills.
  • Format carefully and be sure to edit: This document is meant for a hiring manager’s eyes, so make sure that it’s polished and professional. 

If you’re targeting more than one job title in your current job search, maintain a resume template for each—and always customize your resume for each job opportunity. 

Sample Targeted Resume

This is a targeted resume example. Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or read the example below.

Sample targeted resume
 @ The Balance 2020

Sample Targeted Resume (Text Version)

Kate Green
46 Center Boulevard, Apt 2R
Long Island City, NY 11101
E-mail: me@kategreen.com
Phone: 917.555.3232

Data-savvy, people-focused editorial professional with background in content strategy, newsletter development, social media management, traffic growth, and engagement.  

KEY SKILLS

  • Content Strategy: Ability to recognize and seize opportunities for growth across channels 
  • Traffic Analysis: Expert-level Google Analytics and SEO knowledge
  • Social Media: Led conceptual design and execution of social feeds including Gardening.co’s award-winning Instagram feed

EXPERIENCE

Gardening.co  New York, NY
The largest gardening resource on the web with 18 million monthly unique visitors. 

Editor, Organic Channel (March 2020 - Present)

  • Developed content strategy across multiple channels, collaborating with other channel editors
  • Identified, recruited, hired, and managed over 50 freelance writers with expertise in organic gardening
  • Tracked site stats in Google Analytics and identified opportunities for growth 
  • Wrote and edited three weekly newsletters with 100,000+ subscribers. Grew subscribers lists by average of 17% year-over-year. Improved engagement 8% Q2 2020

Assistant Editor, Tools and Tips (June 2018 - March 2020)

  • Created and managed Gardening.co’s award-winning Instagram feed from inception through verification 
  • Consulted with advertising and business development about monetization process, resulting in additional revenue streams netting $250,000 through Q1 2020 

Garden Girl Mag  Providence, RI
Award-winning, millennial-focused digital magazine with 10 million monthly unique visitors 

Editorial Assistant (January 2015 - June 2018)

  • Recruited influencers and managed their contributions to the site, including podcasts, video, and guest columns 
  • Researched, assigned, and edited tips content for social media and newsletters 
  • Wrote and managed house style guide and served as chair of the style committee

Editorial Intern (May 2014 - December 2014)

  • Updated social media under direction of editorial team
  • Managed site content in WordPress
  • Interviewed experts and transcribed interviews

EDUCATION

Bachelor of Arts in English Literature 2014, Island College, Providence, RI
Included coursework on copyediting, grammar and usage, and digital journalism 

Certificate, Content Strategy and Storytelling, Northwest Pacific University Online
Included coursework on cross-channel content planning, content audits, Google Analytics, social media, etc.

A Short Teaser for Conferences, Job Fairs, and Networking Events 

In the time it takes to pass a new contact your business card, you could be giving them your elevator pitch in print. It’s as simple as creating a one-page version of your resume to pass out at professional events like job fairs and conferences. 

  • Keep it shortmaybe shorter than you think: We’re calling this a teaser resume but it’s more like a business card on steroids. Think about how long you spend glancing at business cards or handouts at networking events and edit and format accordingly. 
  • Put your skills up top where they’re hard to miss: Use a resume profile and/or a bulleted list of your qualifications. 
  • Link to your website, online portfolio, or LinkedIn profile at the bottom: Keep the URL professional and easy to remember, e.g. LinkedIn.com/your.name. Help people find you and your work as easily as possible. 

Sample Teaser Resume

This is a teaser resume example. Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or read the example below.

Sample teaser resume
@ The Balance 2020 

Sample Teaser Resume (Text Version)

Kate Green
46 Center Boulevard, Apt 2R
Long Island City, NY 11101
E-mail: me@kategreen.com
Phone: 917.555.3232

Data-savvy, people-focused editorial professional with background in content strategy, newsletter development, social media management, traffic growth, and engagement.  

KEY SKILLS

  • Content Strategy: Ability to recognize and seize opportunities for growth across channels 
  • Traffic Analysis: Expert-level Google Analytics and SEO knowledge
  • Social Media: Led conceptual design and execution of social feeds including Gardening.co’s award-winning Instagram feed

EXPERIENCE

Gardening.co  New York, NY
The largest gardening resource on the web with 18 million monthly unique visitors. 

Editor, Assistant Editor

  • Content strategy, managing influencers, tracking stats, newsletter development 
  • Grew subscribers lists by average of 17% year-over-year
  • Developed additional revenue streams netting $250,000 through Q1 2020 

SEE MY WORK AND SAY HI! http://www.kategreen.com/portfolio

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