Why “One Size Doesn’t Fit All” When It Comes to Your Resume


I never really understood the concept behind the phrase, “One Size Fits All”. How could a size 2 dress fit a person who is a size 14? Nevertheless, we would visit stores to purchase it anyway, only to be disappointed when we got home and tried it on. We found out that despite the claim on the tag, it was either too snug or too loose. The truth is while we were able to fit in the item of clothing, the question we had to ask was “Did it fit us well? ” One should consider the same question when it comes to resume writing?

 Many people are submitting an unbelievable number of resumes weekly, only to be left wondering why they haven’t received any response. The answer seems simple, but many don’t understand that the resume they are submitting is weak in regard to the positions they apply for. Sending one resume for a multitude of positions is like using one type of bait to catch a variety of fish. You will never get a great return on your investment that way. It’s going to be a waste of time, not to mention paper, if you’re faxing many of them. 

The number one rule in resume writing is to customize each resume according to the position you wish to attain or the employer you want to work for. No one job is ever going to be alike. Consider a former math teacher considering applying for a position as a Spanish teacher. The previous resume, highlighting the teacher’s impeccable math skills would no longer be relevant to the Spanish teacher position. The math teacher would now revise the resume to include qualities that would make him a better candidate for the Spanish teacher position. For instance, the teacher may speak Spanish as his/her first language or they may have been a professional Spanish translator. Nonetheless, unless your current resume is an exact match for the position available, do not send without tailoring it first.

 Another factor to consider is your objective. Many candidates feel that if they put a basic generic objective, then they will have a greater chance to be considered for the position. WRONG! Be specific, yet brief, about what your expectations are and what you can bring to the position. The hiring manager is looking for that special candidate that knows what they want and aren’t afraid to stake their claim. However, this is not a place to mention pay wages or salaries. Never include salary expectations on a resume. If the employer requests salary expectations, you should consider discussing this within your cover letter. However, be careful about giving a specific amount. Consider listing a range that leaves room to negotiate. Some employers ask for a salary history, in which you might list a range also. But make certain your salary history does fall within the range you give, as your salary history is easy to verify.

Lastly, employers are spending less time looking at each individual resume. Because they are receiving hundreds of resumes on average in response to one job ad, they are spending less than 2 minutes scanning each one. Try to keep your resume to one page. There will be times this may be difficult, but try to list the most important skills in your resume and consider mentioning the additional skills in your cover letter. Your resume is not meant to tell everything about you at once, but only to peek their interest. Think of it as going on the first date. If you tell everything about yourself on the first one, the person you’re dating may feel they know everything necessary and may not see a need for a second one. Your goal is to give them just enough to warrant a call from them to discuss it in length.  

The resume is only a reflection of who you are and what assets you possess which will benefit your next potential employer. A clear, concise and appealing resume should let the hiring manager know that you are indeed a “Great Fit” for their organization.

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