Why you should craft industry specific resumes

Over they years, many clients have asked me “Alex, I want to switch from industry X to industry Y. How do I do that?”

Well, one of the first ways is to structure your resume in such a way that a hiring manager or recruiter in industry Y will find it interesting.

“But I want my resume to show my full background?” is a common response I hear back.

In order to address this, I’ve decided to share an anecdote on resumes once told to me by an administrator at my old university:

I had just recently graduated from a JD/MBA program and I was super excited to start my career. I put together my resume showing all of my work experience in both law and business. I sent them out and eagerly waited for a flood of responses.

As time passed, I was somewhat surprised that I received no responses. I couldn’t understand it! I had always been told that having more education and more experience would make me more marketable. At least, that’s what the deans at the law and business schools told me when I signed up for the dual JD/MBA program.

It wasn’t until I spoke to an alumni that had also gone through the JD/MBA program that I understood what was happening. They pointed out that lawyers and business people often had less than positive views of each other. For example, from the alumni’s point of view, lawyers saw business people as “always wanting to do crazy things like start new businesses and take on lots of risk”. Business people, on the other hand, saw lawyer’s as “never letting the good things happen because they are so scared something will go wrong”.

This made sense to me and I hit upon a solution: I would make two resumes! One would be my “legal” resume and one would be my “business” resume. Each resume would only have work experience related to the relevant degree e.g. clerking with a judge would go on my “legal” resume and my internships would go on my “business” one.

After sending out both to the respective firms, my responses skyrocketed! I wish someone had pointed this out to me sooner.

Moral of the story

Many people are under the impression that “more is always better” when it comes to resumes. The anecdote above is just one example of how that is not necessarily always the case. It always pays to “know your audience” and to asks yourself “How can I show that I can add value to a potential hiring manager?”. Both of these questions require you to do some hard thinking to determine industry norms, cognitive biases, good and bad experiences the hiring manager may have had etc etc.

Resume Review/Updating

One of the services I offer is a complete review and rewrite of your current resume. If you would like to hear more about how we could work together to help update your resume, build a job network and get what you want when it comes to your career, you should check out my career coaching service.

Check it out and we can get started on helping you get a better career.

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