Each week, TopResume’s career advice expert, Amanda Augustine, answers user questions like the one below from Quora and our Ask Amanda form. A certified professional career coach (CPCC) and resume writer (CPRW), Amanda has been helping professionals improve their careers for nearly 15 years. Have a question for Amanda? Submit it here.

Q: Should you have separate resumes for different types of jobs?

If I can take different paths in my career, should I have multiple resumes? — Apurba

Great question, Apurba! At TopResume, we often get asked about using multiple resume versions for the job search.  

There is a big difference between customizing your resume for a specific position with an employer and creating a completely different resume for each job application. If you’re pursuing a few different roles but they’re all related to one discipline or field, then there’s no reason why you should need multiple resume versions.

Instead, you should have what I refer to as a “base” resume document that’s positioned for a particular field. When you find a job listing that you’re interested in and qualified to perform, I recommend comparing your resume to the job description and making slight tweaks to ensure your application highlights your most relevant skills and qualifications and uses terminology found in the job listing. Click on the following link for more information on how to customize your resume for a specific job.

When you take these steps to tailor your resume for a specific job application, you increase your application’s chances of making it past the digital gatekeeper, known as an applicant tracking system (ATS), and the initial six-second test.

Related: How to Pass the 6-Second Resume Test

When should you have different resume versions

There’s only one scenario that warrants creating multiple versions of your resume: If you’re interested in pursuing job opportunities in two completely different fields, then you should create two different versions of your resume.

For instance, if you are interested in applying for jobs in software engineering and jobs in account management, then you would need two completely different resumes that are tailored to highlight the relevant skills, education, and work experience you possess for these respective career paths.

A word of caution, though. An effective job search requires more than just a well-crafted resume. Today’s job seekers are expected to advertise their candidacy to employers consistently online, on paper, and in person. You may be able to create multiple versions of your resume, but that isn’t a realistic option for your LinkedIn profile. In addition, how you evaluate and prioritize your contacts and networking activities will all depend on your goals. When you’re targeting multiple career paths, you’re multiplying the work you’ll need to do. Whenever possible, I strongly recommend narrowing your search down to one area of focus. This is the surest way to build an effective job-search campaign.

Unsure of how to position your resume for your job search? Let one of our expert writers help.

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