Your Job Hunting Toolkit Needs More Than One Version of Your Resume

Most job hunters possess only one resume, and it is usually a chronological one. There is a commonly held misperception that a chronological resume must be lengthy, detailing each and every position held since high school, no matter how menial or trivial. Not true!

In reality, a savvy job hunter's toolkit should contain multiple resume versions, and each resume version should be relatively short and compact, stressing only relevant professional, educational and/or military experience.

If you are looking for work right now, consider creating three (or more) different versions of your resume, each of which will be used for a different purpose, to ensure your resume has more impact when it reaches potential employers.

First, your resume toolkit should contain a "functional resume," which lists only employment experiences pertaining to one specific function or job category. Any irrelevant experience is purposefully excluded from a functional resume.

For example, a functional resume for a logistician will not list any past employment in the fast food industry; instead, the functional resume will list warehouse, supply chain and/or related logistics experience. A functional resume for a librarian will list library science and archive-related experiences only, and not experience as a clerk at a hardware store, or as an administrative assistant at a veterinarian's office. A functional resume revolves around one function only: the job category you are applying for and want to fill now.

A functional resume should be chronological in sequence, however, with the most recent relevant experience listed first, the oldest experience listed last and a one-sentence statement at the bottom of the last page indicating "a complete chronological resume is available upon request.”

As you craft your functional resume, simply skip over time periods when you worked at other less pertinent jobs, or at jobs that might reflect negatively on your ability to perform the current position you want.

Once you have a functional resume that is two to five pages in length, set it aside. This document will serve as your long-form functional resume. Next, craft a second version of your functional resume: a 1-page short-form one. This will be a condensed version of your functional resume that distills your relevant experience into one compact page only.

As you apply for different jobs, you will get a sense of when a long-form functional resume is appropriate to submit and when a short-form functional resume will be a better option to capture a busy hiring manager's attention. Sometimes, the prospective employer will give you a specific page limit to follow.

For the third resume version in your job hunting toolkit, you should compose a tightly-edited chronological resume that is fairly concise. You should aim to keep it at three pages or less.

Obviously, your chronological resume must list your employment and educational experience in a chronological sequence; however, this resume does not need to list each and every thing you ever did since high school (unless a hiring manager explicitly tells you "I want to know everything you did since high school," which is quite rare).

Trim up your chronological resume by eliminating early positions held during high school and/or college that are entry-level or non-skilled in nature, especially any non-professional positions that are menial or trivial in scope as compared to the job role you are applying for today.

Focus instead on describing those past jobs that entailed the acquisition of advanced technical or professional capabilities; in colloquial terms, "put your best foot forward." Lead with the jobs that prove you have top-notch knowledge, skills and abilities.

If there is a gap in time in your chronological resume, such as a year you took off to try graduate school, or a year spent taking care of a sick relative, insert a line to explain the gap. You can use a simple format like in this example: "2004-2005: Provided in-home medical care to a sick parent."

Your job hunting toolkit now contains three different resume versions, each of which focuses on what you do best. These three versions should cover most of your job hunting needs.

You might want to consider additional resume variations, though, such as a separate functional resume for each broad range of experience you possess. For example, if you have a lot of experience as a journalist in the Information Technology field, you might want to have one functional resume that highlights your writing and editing experience, plus a secondary one that focuses on your Information Technology knowledge and skills.

If you are interested in applying for a position through SJS Executives, we will first request a functional resume from you. A chronological resume might be required also, depending upon the security requirements of the particular job to which you apply. To see which jobs we have available today, please review our Job Openings page.