One Resume is all You Need
One of the most common questions that we get from clients at Empire Resume is “Should I have multiple versions of my resume?” We always give the same answer: “One resume is all you need.”
Clients are often surprised to hear that answer because it flies in the face of everything else they’ve read or have heard from other resume writing companies, recruiters, headhunters, and other so-called experts in the field.
At Empire Resume, we believe that the energy you would spend creating multiple resumes can be better spent on other aspects of your job search and will yield better results.
Let’s look at what you should be focused on after you’ve created a strong resume.
Customized Cover Letters
Some job hunters may think that online job applications have rendered cover letters obsolete. Nothing could be further from the truth.
According to a recent poll, 80% of hiring managers say it’s common for them to receive electronic cover letters as part of an online job application. On top of that, 86% of executives believe that cover letters help them evaluate candidates.
While you should only have one master resume, you definitely want to tailor each cover letter you send out. The cover letter is where you can give your “elevator pitch” and point out the skills that best match the role you’re applying for.
Your cover letter is where you can customize it by addressing it directly to the hiring manager(s) and tailor it to each job, emphasizing how you can add value in the role.
Using the same generic cover letter for each job will send the message that you’re not really interested in the job, especially when compared to other candidates who have taken the time to write a great cover letter.
The other reason you only need to have one resume is because you are only ever going to have one LinkedIn profile. When a potential employer searches for you on LinkedIn (and they will) your profile should match the resume they have in their hands and vice versa.
If a hiring manager sees that the two don’t match up, then that’s going to raise some questions. Which one should they believe? Are you lying about your experience? Do you change your resume for each job to try and trick the applicant tracking systems?
But, if you have a LinkedIn profile that aligns closely with your master resume, then you can confidently use LinkedIn for your job search. Find out who the decision maker is for the role you’re applying to. You can not only customize the cover letter to the role, but you can address the letter to that decision maker.
In addition, if you have the name of the hiring manager, then you should send a physical cover letter and resume directly to that person. Always submit your application as directed whether that’s through the company’s site, LinkedIn, Indeed, etc., but following up with a hard copy cover letter and resume will separate you from the pack and guarantee your resume will be seen.
Keywords Count (in Small Amounts)
Just like with your resume, you’ll want to add a few strategically placed keywords in your cover letter but be sure to avoid keyword stuffing.
Filling your letter up with words you think will get you past the electronic screening is actually more likely to get you rejected. And if you do get through, any human that sees your cover letter will recognize the keyword stuffing right away and that never looks good.
Types of Cover Letters
Now that we’ve explained why a cover letter is essential, let’s look at what goes into the three main types of cover letters.
1. Application Cover Letter
This is your basic cover letter where you are applying to a job that you’ve seen advertised. This may be the e-mail to which a PDF version of your resume is attached. Or, you may have an opportunity to upload your cover letter as part of your online application.
Either way, it’s your chance to position yourself as the best candidate for the job. Focus on your strengths and why you want to work for the company.
Here are a few samples of application cover letters which you can use as a guide when writing your own.
2. Referral Cover Letter
If your friend or colleague has referred you for a position, you’re going to want to let the hiring manager know that fact right off the bat. This will grab the manager’s attention, especially if he or she works closely with your friend.
“Dear [name of hiring manager],
Alexis Smith, senior director of product design with L&T Electronics, suggested that I contact you to express my interest in a product specialist position within your organization.”
Another option is:
“Dear [name of recruiter],
I am contacting you to express my interest in the open data specialist position within your firm. I worked closely with our mutual colleague Joe Harrison for 7 years at L&T Electronics, and he suggested I contact you.”
Of course, after the strong introduction with the name drop, you’ll want to go into all the pertinent details as to why you are a good fit for the role.
3. Networking Cover Letter
A networking cover letter is a little different because you’re not applying for a specific position, but you’re asking a colleague if they can give you advice or refer you to any open positions, they are aware of.
Here’s one example:
“Dear [Name of former colleague],
I saw that you just celebrated your 5-year anniversary with Ace Logistics. Congratulations! That’s a wonderful accomplishment.
I recently finished my MBA and am looking for new opportunities where I can apply my new skills. I was wondering if you might know of any companies that are hiring data analysts? If so, would you be open to sharing their contact information with me or setting up an introduction?
I appreciate any contacts or introductions you can provide me. I hope we can catch up soon.”
Cover Letters Create Opportunities
One excellent resume is all you need. After you have that, you just follow these four steps for every job you want to apply to:
- Identity of the decision maker on LinkedIn or Google.
- Tailor your cover letter for the position.
- Apply to the position as instructed.
- Mail a hard copy cover letter and resume to the decision maker.
Getting in touch with the right people who can offer you a job is the only way to get hired. Your cover letter is your first opportunity to get their attention. Your resume should clearly showcase why you’re the best candidate.
Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.