I recently started using careers.stackoverflow.com and I love the idea and setup of it though one thing has been bothering me.

It's commonly advised that resumes be tailored to each job listing to maximize the impact of your resume. I find myself removing experience that is not relevant for one job only to then add it back in another.

For example:

  • Company A wants front end PHP web development utilizing the LAMP stack
  • Company B wants linux shell scripting, data storage management and networking proficiency.
  • Company C also wants the same requirements as company A.

You are proficient in all of them, yet there is no need to clutter your resume with irrelevant information.

  • You come across Company A first and submit via careers.
  • You com across Company B second and edit your experience, personal goal and other details and submit a different resume.
  • You come across Company C only realize that you now have to re-enter the same details that only just removed.

This essentially leads to wasted time re-typing the same details.

What I think would be efficient is something along the lines of this:

  • You set up a baseline resume with the full breadth of your key talents and experiences.
  • As you come across a specific job, you "git-branch" your master copy and make specific edits that are tailored to a particular job (this includes experience, education, answers and everything else)
  • A new PDF resume is generated for that specific employer, and when they get a customized page for you as Pekka described. (Maybe you also have an option to allow them to see your full careers profile as well?)

I think it would be a useful feature to have as

  1. It allows employers to see the exact resume a potential hire wants them to see
  2. It allows job seekers to effectively, easily and quickly edit their resume's for each job, potentially helping with the application process by making their resume stand out and be concise.
  3. It allows me to work faster by staying within the careers site versus having to create my own resume tailored to an employer and uploading it from a desktop application. Laying out a good resume is challenging and I love the layout of the careers resume (with a few small reservations, but that's for another post) I think it looks very professional and clean.

What does everyone else think?

2 Answers 2


Sounds like an interesting idea - when you send in a resume, you will usually tailor it to some extent. Allowing us to do the same on careers makes only sense. This would even make it possible to address an employer (or a type of employer, or a potential employer for a certain type of job) directly in the personal statement field!

Maybe continue to have one generic profile at


and allow custom profiles for applying with specific employers:


To prevent "leaks" (company A being able to guess your custom application with company B by fiddling with the URL, and reading the personal statement you intended for company B) maybe random GUID style IDs should be used:


when applying for a job inside Careers, allow users to specify a version of their profile instead of their main profile. When applying for a job outside careers, you would simply have to pass on the link with the right GUID.

Versions could also serve as a simple means of internal version control - storing older versions of your resume, trying out ideas... this sounds too good not to do at some point.

  • You have fleshed out exactly what I envisioned! I'm new to the meta side of SO, do feature requests get officially denied / rejected or is this conversation just chatter which may or may not be implemented?
    – BOMEz
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 13:20
  • 3
    @BOMEz we only don't implement the features Pekka requests. All other requests get serious consideration. Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 13:23


It's a good amount of work for the number of people who would take advantage of it now. There are already ways to do both of the requested bullets.

We do encourage you to tailor your application to different jobs for the job you are applying to. We even give a warning to the applicant when we detect duplicate cover letters from them. Our admin dashboard still shows that a significant number of applications do include duplicate cover letters.

Customizing your resume for each application is also possible in the PDF generator which you see as part of every application. Granted, you cannot change the text of various sections right there, though it's probably best to put a personal state customization in the cover letter anyway. Your personal statement is not so much the "objective" line of a traditional resume, but more to describe you, your work style, something interesting about you, etc. It's more your chance to stand out (so is the cover letter) than it is for you to tell the company you "are looking to work on a team where you can apply your skills to grow your career". If you don't use the PDF generator and make your own resumes, you can upload the specific one you want for each application.

  • 1
    Yes uploading a separate one is an option, but it takes away from the "smoothness" of the site overall.
    – BOMEz
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 13:15
  • @BOMEz It might help the original post if you include a short example of what you would change, and why it would be smoother. Answering questions like, would it be easier to do this on a website or just on my desktop, does this add or remove friction to the application process, etc. Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 13:20

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