You should absolutely customize your resume to match the industry you want to work in. If you’re applying to jobs in several industries, you should have different resumes for each of them. We’ve talked about why it’s important to customize your resume from job to job before. Successful job applications aren’t about how many identical resumes you can broadcast over the job market. It’s almost always better to submit fewer, specific, targeted resumes that reflect your research, thought, respect for the interviewer’s time, and essentially point out all the ways you’re perfect for the role. 

Submitting resumes from industry to industry follows the same principles but on a grander scale. Not only do organizations within the same industry differ from each other, but priorities, language, processes, and requirements between industries differ as well. Your resume needs to reflect your understanding of and respect for those differences, especially if you’re applying for the same or similar position in a different industry.

Here are some of the reasons overhauling your resume for each industry you’re sending out resumes in is a good idea.


you’ll seem like an expert, even with no experience

Research and analysis are your best friends when it comes to job hunting. Develop a clear understanding of the industry you’re applying to and its unique characteristics and challenges so your resume highlights that understanding. Then you can point out how your specific skills are relevant and transferable. This is especially important because different industries may have different titles for what are basically the same roles. It’s your job to know and understand the differences, even the most subtle ones, especially if you’re new and trying to break in. You might be surprised how simply acknowledging your understanding of the industry can help break the ice.

present yourself as a unique solution

Your resume should be targeted to the specific role you’re applying for. That way, you present yourself as the solution to the organization’s ‘problem’.  Appearing unfocused or stuck in the past (a.k.a. the industry you used to work in) won’t move your resume to the top of the pile. You don’t want to seem unfocused or unsure of what you want, especially when changing industries.

Arrange your resume so it refers, not only to requirements of the role but also to the industry. A hiring manager won’t spend time on a resume that doesn’t grab their attention off the top, nor will they go searching through a resume to find those nuggets of information that resonate with them.

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show your skills in the best light 

Think creatively when you’re crafting your resume. Transferable skills won’t always identify themselves as such; it’s up to you to figure out what roles in different industries have in common. This is part of how you identify and underline your transferable skills. And don’t discount your non-professional experience and volunteer efforts. Dealing with people, communication, social media and spreadsheet management – skills like these are required in every industry.

it’s a chance to lay everything out there 

Professional resume writers suggest you begin your resume with a statement of intent. Instead of waiting until the interview stage to let the hiring manager find out you have no experience in their industry, put it out there at the top. Declare your intention to move into new territory, identify keywords that (because you’ve researched) speak to their industry and highlight your skills and experience that are easily transferable. And make sure you’re using language and jargon of the industry you’re transferring to, instead of your current one. The hiring manager is more likely to be impressed by your determination than to feel like you’re hiding inexperience. 

it allows you to make use of every bit of space 

As with any resume, real estate is valuable. Make sure everything you include has a specific purpose and is relevant to the role you’re applying for and speaks to the industry you’re hoping to enter. Refocusing your resume for each industry allows you to focus on the skills and knowledge that are most relevant. Don’t be afraid to cut skills that aren’t impactful and focus on others that are. Your resume isn’t an all-encompassing document that covers every minute of your work life. It’s a sales pitch that sells you as a potential fit for the job at hand. Make use of the limited space you have to focus on issues the hiring managers in the industry you’re targeting will care about.

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The world of work has changed. No one expects to begin and end their working life in the same role, organization or industry. Today, employers across all industries celebrate workers who bring breadth as well as depth to their organizations. With thought and creativity, you can be one of them.