Why Everyone Needs a Master Resume (And How to Make One!)

Everyone should have a master resume.

A master resume is a long form, word vomit of your career history. Think of it as having all of your clothes hanging in your closet in full view so you can choose which is the most appropriate for an event. Does anyone ever remember what’s in a box under the bed or high up on a shelf? Nope. If you can’t see it, you can’t choose it. This will be the content library of your experience and it is a fundamental practice in your career strategy.

In the same way we back-up our data we should back-up our career content. Career changes or making career transitions should be anticipated and expected. In today’s job market, it is very common for people to change companies and career tracks. The details of your career history can be the leverage that helps you stand out as a candidate for your next opportunity!

When you’re working on the master resume don’t worry about grammar or repeating things because overthinking can lead to writer’s block. Get what you can remember out of your head and put it on paper. Google docs work well for this because they’re free, shareable, accessible from anywhere and you can use the document outline to indicate keywords or areas of expertise. To update it on the go keep an open sticky note or the post-its app on your phone, text or email yourself or continually add to a notebook. Use what works for you! Set a repeating event on your calendar as a reminder to update the master with your ongoing notes on a monthly or quarterly basis. 

When the time comes to send out your resume, make a copy of the master and look at it next to your target (a job post or company/product description) then edit this master copy by deleting everything that doesn’t connect or fit your target. Instead of trying to create the best match, delete the distractions! Control the focus of your audience. There is your fit. While some resume writers or recruiters advise that everyone must keep their resume to one page or style, that is not always the case. You should consider all potentially valuable details that may connect your experience to your target.

Remember, the purpose of the resume you send out is to qualify your experience for the next step, a conversation. It is a highlight list of your experience that will make your audience want to learn more about you and a reference of the career stories you will tell. 

If you need help organizing and editing your experience so it is presented in a thoughtful, strategic, and developmentally appropriate way we’ve got the guide for you!

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