Resumes & Cover Letters

How to spin one resume for multiple industries

Written by Kate Lopaze

Ideally, you’d have a tailored resume ready to go for every job opportunity. But we know that sometimes reality gets in the way, and you need to send out your resume to a variety of places without much overhaul time. Or maybe you’re thinking about changing jobs, and have your core qualifications going out to multiple industries. Whatever the case may be, we have some tips you can use to make a cohesive base resume for when you need it.

Pick a format that’s flexible

If you have tons of experience in one industry and you want to flaunt that, then the traditional reverse-chronological resume, with experience front and center, is a solid way to go. But if you are trying to bring together a varied history or are hoping to change industries altogether, then work experience might not be the best way to focus your resume. Instead, go with a skills-based format, where you list your core skills up front. If you’re able to tailor those for the industry for which you’re applying, that’s ideal, but otherwise make sure the skills you’re including are your strongest—and applicable in at least a general way. (In other words, include your ninja-like time management skills, but skip the 10 years of tuba mastery.)

Set your narrative

Your resume should tell a story all the way through. That means you have the power to decide what that story should be. For example, if you want your narrative to be that you’re a strong, dedicated employee ready for the next level, make sure your resume has strong evidence for your growth throughout your career and your management skills. If you want to sell yourself as a flexible innovator who thinks creatively to solve problems effectively, use your skills and experience bullets to emphasize how you’ve tackled challenges in your career—regardless of job or industry.

A strong summary statement can be key here, as well as skills and experience bullets that support your “highlights reel,” so to speak. By curating this information into a specific story about you as a professional and as a candidate, you’re helping to create a strong resume focused on the best parts of your history and looking toward your next opportunity, wherever that may be. It can help smooth any gaps or wide ranges of employment in your past.

Tweak the experience points

If you’re applying to jobs in multiple industries or have a job history that crosses different industries, that means applying some creative rewrites to your job experience bullets. The most important thing here is to show growth and achievement. Strong action verbs can help you convey results, rather than simple job duties. You’ll want to emphasize how you’ve grown throughout your career and the proactive approach you take to any job. Listing job responsibilities without a strong verb or a description of results will not help you make the jump between industries. But if you make sure your experience bullet points support your core skills and the narrative you’re trying to set with your resume, it can help hiring managers in other industries see how you would fit into theirs.

Flexibility is a quality that is highly sought after by companies and hiring managers today, so if you’re trying to create a resume that harnesses your diverse work history or to move into a field where your skills (if not your experience) could be a good fit, then you’re in good shape. Paying careful attention to how your resume is set up and what it says about you can help you get to the next level in your job search.

About the author

Kate Lopaze

Kate Lopaze is a writer, editor, and digital publishing professional based in New York City. A graduate of the University of Connecticut and Emerson College with degrees in English and publishing, she is passionate about books, baseball, and pop culture (though not necessarily in that order), and lives in Brooklyn with her dog.