Two overarching resume types: General and Targeted

When preparing a resume, you may choose to create a general resume or a targeted one. Any type of resume–whether chronological, functional, combination, or other–may be either general or targeted.

Type 1. The general resume

A general resume will include all of your professional experience and notes each of your skills. The information in a general resume is presented without regard to the specific job being sought.

You might use this type of resume to provide details of your qualifications to a colleague who has agreed to assist you in your job search. Because it can be prepared in advance, this type of resume might also be useful in instances where a quick response to a job opening is necessary. Or, you might prepare a general resume when you plan to print several copies of the document in advance of its use.

As a vehicle to promote your candidacy, the primary weakness of the general resume is its lack of customization. The document may present the appropriate information but fail to focus the reader’s attention on your most relevant qualifications.

Type 2. The targeted resume

A targeted resume is a customized (or optimized) version of your resume. A targeted resume highlights your skills and experience that are sought by a specific job post. When you are preparing your resume, you will look at the job listing and research the hiring organization to tailor your resume using words and phrases designed to attract the targeted employer’s attention.

Creating a targeted resume is time-consuming.

While information may be gathered and a draft of the document may be prepared in advance, the final resume cannot be written until after you have chosen which job or jobs to pursue. To streamline the process of creating a targeted resume, you may begin with a general resume as your template and then make modifications. Or, you may maintain a selection of resume statements and sections from which to assemble each targeted resume.

Despite the additional effort required to create a targeted resume, doing so often provides you with your best chance of passing through both the automated and human screening process and receiving an invitation to interview for the sought position.