You Should Probably Have More Than One Resume… Here’s Why
As you seek your first cybersecurity job you’re probably open to different types of roles in several industries. That’s okay. If you’re trying to apply to all of those positions with the same resume, you may write an increasingly bloated resume. That’s not okay.
It’s easy to suppose that your resume refers to a single item. In reality, you should probably have multiple resumes. This allows you to apply for positions in a targeted manner, rather than using a “one resume to rule them all” method.
Benefits of Multiple Resumes
You want your resume to effectively respond to the job listing that you are applying to. Your aim is to convince the hiring manager and/or recruiter that you meet enough of their stated requirements to warrant an interview. As each cybersecurity job will have different stated requirements—especially between roles and industries—multiple resumes allow you to respond to the specific job to which you are applying.
This allows you to maintain an array of resume bullets and utilize only those which are most relevant on any given resume. This can help you avoid a situation where you have five, six, or seven resume bullets for a single position. You can craft less bloated resumes, targeted for specific applications.
Remember, your resume is not an auto-biography. Resume writing is a demonstration that you can effectively and concisely represent your professional and educational experience in one to two pages. You want to give the reader enough information to convince them they should interview you to get to know more about you.
How to Develop Multiple Resumes
It’s important to have a system to develop and maintain multiple resumes. You invite confusion and chaos, if you have 20 different files named resume.docx on your computer. Your first step is to develop what you think is your baseline resume. This will undoubtedly evolve over time as you continually update and refine your resume during your cybersecurity career. It’s a good starting point though.
Next, you want to name your resume files in a manner that helps you distinguish between them. One effective technique is to include the date in the filename. This provides the dual benefit to differentiating between versions and letting you know how long ago you last updated your resume.
Including a version number in the filename is less useful than you would think. It gives the impression that the highest version number is the best version. In reality, for a given job application a slightly older version may be more relevant. The more recent version may have been very targeted to a specific role or industry. Including a date in the filename is more useful than a version number to remind you, when you wrote each copy of your resume.
For each job you apply to you can use a recent resume version as a starting point. Do you have particular experience in that industry aside from cybersecurity? You can make sure to expand upon that. Do you have a resume bullet from several versions ago, which would be useful for this application? You can add it back in. Does the job description phrase requirements in a particular manner? You can adjust the language to match the description. You can also simply refine your resume over time without losing track of which iteration of your resume you used where.
What’s In A Filename?
In order to keep things straight, you’ll want to keep the same filename when you PDF your resume to send to potential employers. [Note: Always send a PDF of your resume.] That means the recruiter and hiring manager will also be able to see the naming convention you’ve used. Keep it clean and neat.
Make sure the filename includes your name. It’s common for the recruiter to email the hiring manager several resumes at once. Don’t make people work to figure out which resume is yours.
Your resume is not a one-time document that is ever “done.” It’s an evolving document that you’ll revise over time. Maintaining multiple versions of your resume will actually support the evolution of your resume and it encourages you to actively update it over the course of your career.