Tailoring Different Versions of Your Resume: One Size Does Not Fit All

What do you do when you find the perfect job but the resume you have doesn’t fit?

You’ve been searching through job listings for what seems like a millenia and finally found the perfect job! There’s a slight problem, though. The resume you have is targeted to a different job. Do you just send that resume and hope for the best, or should you write a new resume?

You already know – at least you hopefully already know – that you’re supposed to tailor your resume to each job to get past the applicant tracking system, or ATS. However, that’s a bit different from having different versions of your resume. 

Let’s talk about targeting your resume and how that is different from tailoring your resume because one size does not fit all. 

Targeting vs tailoring your resume

Most of your career has been spent in a particular type of role – Human Resources Associate, for example. When you apply to a Human Resources Associate position, you take the HR resume you already have and tweak the keywords to mirror what’s in the job description so you can prove you have what it takes to excel at the new job.

On the other hand, you just found a Recruiter position (again, as an example) that perfectly matches your experience. Yes, Human Resources Associates do recruiting work, but will your HR resume fit the bill for the Recruiter position? Probably not. In this case, you’d want a second version of your resume to target a Recruiter job. 

  • Tailored: One resume version wordsmithed to match keywords in a job description.
  • Targeted: Different resumes that are written for different types of jobs. 

Should your resume be different for every job?

Yes, absolutely! The bane of every job seeker today is the ATS. It’s the first stop your resume makes when you submit it for a job opening. This resume scanning system goes through your resume, looking for things like experience, education, and relevant keywords. 

Those keywords are the main reason for targeting and tailoring your resume. 

After it gets past the ATS, you still have to impress a hiring manager. And it’s critical to know that there isn’t a human being alive who will be reading your resume. The hiring manager is going to give it a quick once-over to see if something jumps out at them. If they see something that matches what they need, then they’ll slow down and pay your resume some more attention. 

Related reading: How to Pass the 6-Second Resume Test

When you’re applying for jobs, sending out the same resume for every position might seem like a time-saver, but it’s not the most effective strategy. Each job is different, and your resume should reflect that. By tailoring your resume for each job application, you’re showing potential employers that you’ve put in the effort to match your qualifications to their specific needs.

Highlight relevant skills and experience

Employers want to see that you have the skills and experience necessary to perform well in the job they have available. If your resume isn’t targeted and tailored, you might miss the chance to highlight your most relevant qualifications. 

For example, if you’ve been in marketing for a number of years but now have your eye on sales, project management, or content writing, you can tailor your experience to match what the employer needs. 

Original marketing resume:

Professional Experience:

  • Developed and executed comprehensive marketing strategies that increased website traffic by 40% over six months.
  • Managed social media campaigns across multiple platforms, resulting in a 25% increase in engagement.
  • Conducted market research to identify target audiences and optimize marketing efforts.


  • SEO and SEM strategies
  • Social media management
  • Market research

Marketing experience turned into Sales experience:

Professional Experience:

  • Leveraged marketing strategies to identify and engage potential sales leads, contributing to a 20% increase in sales conversions.
  • Collaborated with the sales team to create targeted campaigns that aligned with sales goals and drove customer acquisition.
  • Conducted competitive analysis and market research to support sales initiatives and identify new business opportunities.


  • Lead generation and prospecting
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Sales funnel optimization
  • Market research

Marketing experience turned into Project Management experience:

Professional Experience:

  • Managed multiple projects simultaneously, ensuring timely delivery and adherence to budget constraints.
  • Led cross-functional teams to execute project plans, achieving a 95% on-time project completion rate.
  • Utilized project management tools to track progress, allocate resources, and report on project status to stakeholders.


  • Project planning and scheduling
  • Team leadership
  • Budget management
  • Performance analysis
  • Agile and Waterfall methodologies

Marketing experience turned into Content Writing experience:

Professional Experience:

  • Produced high-quality blog posts, articles, and newsletters that resulted in a 50% increase in reader engagement.
  • Conducted thorough research to ensure accuracy and relevance in all written content.
  • Collaborated with editorial and design teams to create cohesive and compelling content across various platforms.


  • Copywriting and editing
  • Research and fact-checking
  • SEO content writing
  • Collaboration with editorial teams

The content of each resume accurately reflects what you’ve done in Marketing, but they’re each written differently to align with the job description of the new alternative roles. So, in this example, you’d need four different base resumes – a Marketing resume, a Project Manager resume, a Sales resume, and a Content Writer resume.

Expert tip: The hiring manager won’t assume your marketing skills make you qualified for their job. You have to tell them specifically how your experience matches what they need.

Align your resume with job descriptions

Job descriptions are basically the employer’s wish list, outlining the qualifications, skills, and experiences they want in the new person they add to their team. When you customize your resume to mirror the specific requirements and responsibilities outlined in the job description, you show that you’ve taken the time to understand what the employer is looking for. This will not only help you get past the ATS but it’ll also catch the eye of the hiring manager.

Here’s how you can effectively align your resume with job descriptions:

1. Dissect the job description

Start by carefully reading the job description. Highlight the key skills, qualifications, and responsibilities mentioned. Look for repeated keywords and phrases because these are often the most important attributes the employer is looking for. 

For example, if a job description for a marketing manager emphasizes “campaign management,” “SEO,” and “content creation,” make sure to highlight these skills in your resume if you possess them.

2. Match your skills and experience

Once you have identified the components of the job description, match them with your skills and experiences. Look at your current resume and identify areas where you can adjust the wording or add details to better align with the job description.

Example job description for a Marketing Manager:

  • Develop and execute comprehensive marketing strategies.

  • Manage SEO and PPC campaigns.

  • Create and oversee content creation and distribution.

  • Analyze market trends and adjust strategies accordingly.

Original Resume Experience:

  • Led marketing campaigns to increase brand awareness.

  • Managed social media accounts and engaged with followers.

  • Conducted market research to identify new opportunities.

Aligned Resume Experience:

  • Developed and executed comprehensive marketing strategies, increasing brand awareness by 30%.

  • Managed SEO and PPC campaigns, achieving a 20% increase in website traffic.

  • Created and oversaw content creation and distribution, enhancing engagement across all platforms.

  • Analyzed market trends and adjusted strategies to remain competitive.

3. Weave keywords into your resume naturally

Many people make the mistake of cramming as many keywords into their resume as possible to get past the ATS. Some even use tricks to try to manipulate the system – copying/pasting the entire job description in tiny white font, for example. These tactics don’t work because resume scanning systems have been programmed to look for these tricks.

Your best bet is to incorporate keywords naturally throughout your resume, including in your professional summary, skills section, and job descriptions.

Related reading: Common Resume Mistakes and How You Can Avoid Them

4. Customize your headline and professional summary

In the spirit of making a great first impression, the very top of your resume MUST be written to grab the employer’s attention. When you tailor this section to reflect the most relevant aspects of your background and how they align with the job description, you start proving to them that you have what it takes to do the job they have available. Mention the job title you are applying for and include a few key accomplishments that demonstrate your qualifications.

Original Professional Summary: Marketing professional with over 5 years of experience in developing campaigns and managing social media accounts. Proven track record of increasing brand awareness and engagement.

Retargeted professional summary for Project Manager: Results-driven Project Manager with over 5 years of experience in leading and executing comprehensive project plans. Expertise in Agile and Waterfall methodologies, resource allocation, and risk management. Proven ability to deliver projects on time and within budget, enhancing team productivity and project outcomes.

Retargeted professional summary for Sales: Results-driven Sales Manager with over 5 years of experience in developing and executing comprehensive sales strategies. Expertise in lead generation, client relationship management, and sales pipeline optimization. Proven ability to increase revenue and drive customer acquisition through targeted sales initiatives.

Retargeted professional summary for Content Writer: Results-driven Marketing Manager with over 5 years of experience in developing and executing comprehensive marketing strategies. Expertise in SEO and PPC campaign management, content creation, and market trend analysis. Proven ability to increase brand awareness and drive engagement.

Each of these examples provides information about what you did as a Marketing Manager, but they specifically talk about how those experiences match what the hiring manager needs – even though it’s for a completely different job. 

5. Tailor each application

Once you get a handle on targeting your resume to different jobs, you must tailor each one. It sounds like a lot of time-consuming work, but tailoring your resume for each job application is crucial. Remember, each job is unique, and by customizing your resume, you show that you are genuinely interested in the position and have taken the time to understand the employer’s needs.

Example: If you’re applying for a job that emphasizes project management skills, make sure to highlight your experience in managing projects, even if your primary role was in marketing. Mention any specific project management tools you used, such as Trello, Asana, or Jira, and provide examples of successful projects you’ve led.

Original experience Section:

Aligned experience section for a Project Management role:

One-size-fits-all doesn’t cut it

Applying for different jobs that don’t exactly match your experience is 100% perfectly fine; however, you have to take the time to target your resume to the different jobs. This means you’ll need multiple base versions. Then, when you’re applying for a role, open the file for that base resume and tailor it using the language you find in the job description. When you highlight the skills and experiences that are most relevant to each position, you prove that you’re the right fit for the job.

TopResume can help you determine if your resume is both targeted and tailored properly. Upload your resume today for a free review and get expert feedback from resume-writing professionals.

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