Should You Have Separate Resumes For Different Types of Jobs?

The answer: It depends how similar or unrelated the positions are.

Should You Have Separate Resumes For Different Types of Jobs?

An experienced Welder has been unemployed for months and wants to start broadening her search. She would like to include jobs such as Quality Control Assistant, given her background in checking for defective welds.

A successful but burned out Finance Manager in the private sector decides it’s time to check out similar jobs in Not-For-Profit organizations. He thinks that maybe the stress will be somewhat less and he’ll feel good about contributing to society more.

Do either of these job seekers need more than one well-written resume? Do you need more than one?


Customizing Your Resume, Versus “Separate Resumes” For Different Types of Jobs

Let’s begin by clarifying what we mean by “separate” resumes. Basically you’d have a distinctly different resume – in terms of a sizeable portion of your content – for each type of job you’re applying for.

This is not the same as “customizing” your resume to a specific employer or job ad. Customizing is when you use a single resume for every job you apply to, except that you make sure to add, subtract, or alter small bits of content to match the unique requirements of each employer.

Whether you produce separate resumes for jobs that are clearly different, or merely customize a single resume for different employers, you will end up with more than one “version” of your resume. (More about managing multiple versions further in the article).


When It Makes Sense to Have Separate Resumes For Different Types of Jobs

Take the case of the Welder who also wants to apply for Quality Control positions. Now that we’ve clarified the difference between creating separate resumes versus customizing a single one, should she customize the one or create separate resumes altogether?

Essentially, you would opt for separate resumes if the varying types of jobs you’re pursuing require substantially distinct experience, knowledge, skills and/or credentials.

Therefore it seems natural for our Welder to use a Welding resume for jobs in her existing field, and another one for Quality Control Assistants.


Do The Separate Resumes Have to Be Completely Different From Each Other?

Some good news: unless you’re making a drastic career change, there is probably a good deal of overlap between the jobs you’re going after. This holds true even if overall these jobs differ substantially. That means it’s likely you can interchange chunks of content between the separate resumes.

Hence when our Welder drafts her Quality Control resume, she’ll remove a whole bunch of details that are specific to jobs as a Welder. In their place she’ll add whatever information she can that’s more relevant to a Quality Control position. Checking for defects, maintaining her equipment properly and reducing error rates are prime examples. She’ll also change her Summary and Objective at the top of her separate resume accordingly.

She may also switch from a reverse-chronological layout to a functional style of resume. This would enable her to place more emphasis on her transferable skills and related Quality Control background, rather than highlighting her linear employment history.

As for our Finance Manager from the private sector, he doesn’t really need a completely separate resume for transferring into a Not-For-Profit. He can get away with customizing his standard resume. He’d simply add a few things like any volunteer experience he might have, or how he’s supported Not-For-Profits in other ways. The rest he can explain in his Cover Letter.


Handling Multiple Resumes

When using to manage your resumes, there are ways to effectively manage multiple resumes. This is true for separate resumes or customized versions of a single resume.

Your free account with gives you the ability to upload, store, and update multiple resumes, all in one convenient place. Use the “Manage Resumes” panel to edit your existing resumes, keep track of employer activity, and create new resumes. You can view each resume’s description at any time by placing your mouse over the title. Also you can answer the questions that help employers find your resume by increasing its visibility.

Note that you should keep track of which resume you send out to each employer ( lets you do this). It would be a shame to apply for the job of your dreams with the wrong resume version. Or to show up for an interview prepared to talk about the information on one resume, when it’s the separate version you’ve submitted.

With a little juggling and organizing, using separate resumes – or customizing versions of a single resume – can become a powerful tool to broaden your job search or target specific employers.