woman holding her resume

The Pros and Cons of a Personalized Resume

Most of us don’t walk around wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the highlights of our professional and educational backgrounds, but crafting a professional resume sometimes feels just that boastful. Finding the right words that show our skills and experience and make us stand out while simultaneously keeping the ego in check can be exhausting. But what if, after all that, you don’t even get the interview? Some people say that it’s important to tailor your resume to the position and company that you’re applying to; others say create your resume to best represent you, not a company or job posting. So, which is the right way to do it?

Personalization Perks

Once you’ve drafted your professional resume with a comprehensive background of your education and work history, you’re ready to send it out to prospective employers. But some people say that sending the same resume for each job application is a quick way to get put at the bottom of the pile. With today’s job markets being so competitive and so many people seeking employment at any given time, it makes sense that you might want to do something to set yourself apart and get noticed. After all, it’s much easier these days to tweak your resume than in the past where computers were less accessible. Here are some potential perks of creating a custom resume:

Highlight relevant skills and experience. Many job descriptions list desired qualifications and experience, so moving those relevant skills to the top of your resume can emphasize the parts of your background that are a good fit for the job. 

– Make it clear what position you’re applying for. In some circumstances, the recruiter or HR manager combing through resumes might be working to fill more than one position at a time. Customizing your professional resume to reflect the specific position you’re applying for can help make sure it gets seen by the right people for the right reasons.

– It can make you stand out. If a hiring manager gets a stack of 10-100 resumes that seem mostly the same, getting one that’s a little different either in format or personality can seem like a welcome break – and might be more likely to be remembered.

Customization Cons

All of the above points might seem like good things at first, but there are some potential downsides to tailoring your resume to each prospect you send it out to. Resumes are not easy to draft, especially if you’re doing it for the first time or you lack education and/or work experience. The whole idea behind a resume is to list your repertoire of skills, experience, and overall professional history; if all that is fact, how much can you really customize your resume? And just because you can, does that mean you should? Let’s check out the cons of customization.

– It’s time consuming.It takes time to craft a polished resume, and changing things around to fit what you think is going to make you stand out without losing focus on relevant history can be daunting. If you’re applying for multiple jobs with varying companies, the amount of time spent creating personalized resumes multiplies accordingly.

– Too much customization can seem less authentic. Taking notes from industry standards and specific job descriptions is one thing, but reworking your entire resume to reflect a specific job opening can seem like you’re too perfect of a fit, and that can come across as inauthentic. A hiring manager doesn’t want to see their exact words and entire job description copied and pasted into your resume.

– You are guessing at what they want to hear. You know your history. The company knows what they’re after. Trying to create a personalized resume that matches what you think they might be looking for could lead you to play too much to skills they don’t really care about, or can make you omit something that might really stand out as unique and desirable to them. Essentially, this guessing game can prevent them from seeing the whole package you offer, and the tidbits you choose “for them” might not be enough to get to the next round.

A resume is the first glimpse a company gets into your background and the tool they use to evaluate your potential as a prospective team member. There are pros and cons to creating a personalized resume, and everyone has their own opinion. When job hunting, there are many things that need your attention: finding job opportunities, submitting applications and resumes, networking with contacts and potential employers, researching companies, creating cover letters, and scheduling interviews. It’s completely up to you where you choose to spend your time and what you think is going to be more influential to future employers. If tailoring your resume comes easily and makes you feel like you stand out as a potential hire, then give it a try. If you’re overwhelmed with how much work goes into finding a job, then leave your polished resume alone and focus your energy where it will be most beneficial to you. It’s scary enough trying to sell yourself on paper, so do whatever makes the process more comfortable – it will show in your future interactions, and that’s where you can really shine. 

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