Contrary to popular belief, it’s not necessary to have completely different resumes for each career goal. After all, your professional and academic experience doesn’t change. That said, how you construct an effective resume for multiple career goals does depend upon prioritization and organization of data, and answers to these questions:
1. Are the career fields similar?
2. Are the career fields diverse?
SIMILAR CAREER FIELDS
Let’s say as a Registered Nurse you’ve taught nursing students, you have served as an administrator at a nursing home, and you have worked in a hospital. Three careers, but all related. A resume in this instance can be both general (for application to many jobs) and specific (targeting one job) – it’s all in how you organize and prioritize the information.
For example, your Professional Experience can be broken down into three categories on your resume – Nursing Experience – Administrator Experience – Teaching Experience, with the appropriate employer and daily duties listed within each section (in a reverse chronological format). When applying for Nursing positions, that section would be listed first. When applying for a Teaching position, that section would be listed first.
In this way, one resume, with minor modifications, can be used for many postings.
DIVERSE CAREER FIELDS
You began your professional career in real estate sales, but then transitioned to the paralegal field, and finally chose yet another career in bookkeeping. Three very different careers that would seem to require three separate resumes, but that’s certainly not the case.
To avoid producing resume after resume for each job, and if at least some of the skills are transferable within different industries, then a functional format is best for you.
Functional formats stress professional skills, rather than employers or industries. So, instead of providing a reverse chronological resume that clearly shows you’ve been moving from career to career and back (which some employers might find troubling), a functional resume states core qualifications beneath varying subheadings.
The example given above would warrant three or more subheadings, namely:
Contract Negotiation (Real Estate)
Sales (Real Estate)
These subheadings can be organized in order of importance to the targeted position (eg: if Sales interests you, then you would list your Real Estate Experience first, followed by your other experience). The subheadings can also show broad experience that could very well be valued in an economy where employees are expected to wear many hats and to perform many functions.