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I have skills as web developer and a graphic designer, and when advertising my strengths, traits such as "innovative" seem to be good for software design, but not really important for graphic design.

Furthermore, my resume currently lists both my web development and graphic design history, experience, and capabilities, while only one or the other seems directly useful to the jobs I'm applying for.

Should I tailor my resume to only include information about my skills and experience in the field that I'm applying for? Or should I include all of my skills, positive traits, and experience regardless of the job?

  • It depends how much you can change, if you would change very little a cover letter might be more appropriate. – Daniel Siebert May 19 '15 at 19:15
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It's impractical to write every resume from scratch specifically for each opportunity, but I would recommend drafting two basic versions of your resume: one for web development and another for graphic design.

I would include all your skills (it's rare and valuable for one person to have experience in both coding and design), but go into greater detail and emphasize those skills/experiences relevant to either coding or design.

Once you have those two basic resumes set, you can slightly alter as needed for a specific job, depending on what the company lists as requirements.

It's hard work to tailor your resume to jobs, but it increases the likelihood you will be hired -- you will stand above other applicants who have more generic resumes.

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    This is the general approach I would recommend, with the addition that you could create new versions of your resume when a job you were interested in seemed different enough to warrant it (i.e. didn't fit with one of the existing two), or you wanted to match it's job description very closely because you're focused on that opportunity. – Jared May 20 '15 at 3:06
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Yes to tailoring your resume. In your case, you should have two resumes, a web developer version and a graphic design version. The first one should read as if you are primarily a web developer, emphasizing the relevant skills, listing those jobs at the top, and mentioning that you have a little graphic design experience. The other resume should be the exact opposite -- graphic designer who occasionally dabbles in web dev. It's is really just a matter of the ordering, and how much detail you use, when you list your past jobs, skill sets, results, awards, etc.

You want the reader to think that your prior experience was at least 80-90% tailored to the job for which you're applying. If they view you as splitting your time 50/50, they'll pass for someone more specialized.

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I do feel that a similar answer can be found here: https://workplace.stackexchange.com/a/2973/29909 but I can also see how it would not explain certain points about a person with a dual career path.

The short answer is that it is always good to tailor a resume and trim what is irrelevant to the position you are applying to. A few points that I think you will need to consider though

Pruning Jobs vs Employment Gaps

you are going to want to create a balance between removing or diminishing jobs that are irrelevant and making your resume look sparse. If you did 5 years in web, 10 in graphic, and 5 in web you will likely want to include something about that 10 year job in a resume as not including it would look strange.

Lateral vs Irrelevant Skills

Web development and graphics work are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Your graphics work may have helped you understand optimal resolutions for images on the web and how to adjust those images to save bandwidth in an application. You do need to trim the fat but be careful to leave in what could be considered a lateral skill in the field. Also make sure to present the lateral skill in the context of the job you are applying for.

Focused Career vs Growth Oriented

It is touched on in the answer I linked but just to rehash it here, you may want to show that you know more that just what the job calls for. Obviously having the right skills for a job is important but mentioning other skills shows you have interest in your own personal growth. Just make sure that it shows interest and does not eclipse relevant skills in your resume.

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Short answer: Yes, you should tailor your CV to each job you apply for, but instead change your cover page or executive summary.

However, I don't actually go through and modify each job that I have done. The tasks I performed, the technologies I used, the skills it required are static and unchangeable. Instead, my CV has an executive summary as a cover page, which I change and shift around to put focus on the relevant skills from my experience that best apply to the job I am applying for.

That way the amount of effort involved is minimal, but the first thing that a prospective employer reads is the information most relevant to them. They can then go through my employment history for verification with a clear understanding of how my experience fits the role.

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