When conducting a job search, you should never send out the same resume to every potential employer. You need to tailor your resume for each individual company and position. When you’re writing your resume, you need to remember that every resume that you send to a company should be telling a hiring manager why you will be a valuable employee for their company, and the position they are looking to fill. Hiring managers don’t want to have to guess at why you’re a good fit. They want you to make it clear to them, both in your cover letter and on your resume. Creating and sending in one generic resume to every employer may make life easier for you, but a generic resume is never going to be an effective resume and it’s not doing much to get you an interview or help you land a job.
However—even though you shouldn’t send it in to a prospective employer, you should still create a master resume. What is a master resume? It’s one long document that includes all the pertinent details from your work history, allowing you to pull from it as you create multiple, tailored resumes. As a result, you don’t have to start fresh every single time you go to write a resume. And, when you have a master resume close at hand you’re going to be less likely to forget even minor details that could make a difference to a future job opportunity.
Master resumes offer many benefits, including allowing you to store all of the details of your career in one place and helping you organize your job search. If you are interested in making the most of this document so you can write great resumes and stand out as an applicant, take a look at five ways to write a strong master resume:
1. Find Your Old Resumes (and an old cover letter or two).
While you want to create a more modern resume—with a modern format along with updated information—an old resume can be a great repository of information. An easy way for you to create a great master resume is to start by finding all of your old ones. It’s probable that over the years, you’ve developed and discarded dozens of resumes. Dig them out, not just for the old job descriptions but also for the skills and accomplishments you’ve accumulated during your professional experience. You might be surprised by some qualifications and achievements you’ve forgotten about that might be relevant for jobs you may want to pursue in the future.
An old cover letter might also remind you of particular phrases or descriptions of work experience that can help you craft a more effective master resume. When you’re looking through these documents, take the time to write down action verbs, keywords, etc., that jump out at you as well. Your master resume can be a repository for all kinds of information—not just dates and job responsibilities.
2. Think About All Aspects of Your Career.
When you’re writing a resume, it’s also good to sit down and contemplate all of the aspects of your career, including any committees you may be a part of in relation to your job. Anything that you participate in that could help you to excel in a job later in your career can be added to your master resume now for future reference. You should also list out things like certifications, and professional development opportunities that may help you stand out as a candidate for a particular job. You never know what experience a future employer might be looking for in an applicant.
3. Look Beyond Your Professional Life.
It’s important not to forget that you have a life outside of your career. So if you volunteer for an organization, work in your family’s mom-and-pop shop, or even rescue animals, the skills that you acquire can be listed in the master resume. Companies may also just generally look favorably on people who have volunteer experience, or who have a wide network of contacts in the community.
4. Ask Your Friends and Coworkers for Help.
Don’t be shy about looking to friends and coworkers for help with your master resume. Since it’s not your professional resume and you will never actually submit it to a company (it’s just for organizational purposes), you can add all of the information you desire, including input from people who know your work ethic and can contribute their two cents about your skills and qualifications as they see them. Perhaps you don’t think of yourself as having leadership skills—a friend or colleague might be able to give you a few great examples of why you do have them. Then, as you polish your application documents, you can pick and choose the relevant information to add before sending your resume to a potential employer.
5. Create One While You’re Still Working.
Probably one of the best ways to create a master resume is to work on it while you’re still employed. For instance, if you’ve just completed an impressive assignment but know that you could forget about it years down the line, take a moment from your busy schedule to jot down details about it in your master resume as soon as you get home.
A master resume is an amazing tool for helping you to create beautifully tailored resumes (while keeping you organized) as you decide in which direction you want to move in your career. So take advantage of these resume writing tips as you work on creating the masterpiece that is your master resume.
If you’d like to work with a professional resume writer during your job search, the team at Great Resumes Fast would like to speak with you. The Great Resumes Fast resume writing service was built with the goal of helping people achieve their career goals. When you work with one of our resume writers, we take the time to learn about your work history and goals, and take the time to craft a professional resume that is tailored to you and your career needs.
Learn more about our team and how we work on our About Page.
For hundreds more resume writing tips, as well as cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and general career advice, head over to our blog. For examples of resumes that can help get you jump-started on writing your resume, head over to our resume samples page.
If you’re ready to get started working with professional resume writers to write your resume, get in touch with us.
Are you tired of your resume being rejected by applicant tracking systems? I know how frustrating it is to submit your resume and receive no response. I hate seeing qualified people never break through the screening process. It shouldn’t be that way. That’s why I created this guide and I encourage you to download the FREE PDF so you can start seeing better resume response rates!
Share this post:
About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
Will your resume impress employers? Take this 2-minute quiz to find out.
Get your personalized plan for a resume that stands out and lands you your dream job!
Need a little help getting hiring managers to take notice? Find out what's standing between you and those magic words "You're exactly who we've been looking for!"