Creating a Master Resume: A Resource for your Professional Journey

By Robyn Kurland, Intern, Office of Career Planning

When looking for a job or internship, we often cast a wide search net that varies by field or skill set. Given that resumes are only reviewed briefly and often times run through an ATS (Application Tracking System) before being seen by a hiring manager, it is vital that resumes are crafted for the job, including keywords and highlighting the most relevant information.

While we know cover letters must be tailored for each position, we do not always think about the importance of a tailored resume. It is inefficient and unreasonable to attempt to create a new resume for each position. However, you can create a resource document for your personal use that will help you quickly tailor resumes depending on the qualifications and skill sets required. Think of it as a “Master Resume.”

On your Master Resume you can include:

  • Any and all relevant professional development experience and skills. This can range from courses, online classes, workshops, jobs, internships, volunteer experience, leadership experience, student clubs, awards, honors, academic projects or presentations – anything you have done that has provided you with transferrable skills or could be relevant for future work.
  • While on a normal resume, you may have to pick the top three accomplishments at one job that are most appropriate for the position, on the master resume, you can have as many bullet points as you like, following the S-A-R method.
  • As you attend events, seminars, or participate in professional development experiences, continue to add these to your master resume in real-time.

Then, when it comes time to apply for jobs, you can cut and paste the most relevant components of your experiences depending on the job. (You can also always adapt keywords so they align with the job or internship description).

But this document isn’t just for resume tailoring. It can also be used as a tool for cover letters and interviews. Here’s how:

  • Under each experience you list, identify what skills, resources, strengths, challenges, or growth experiences you gained at each work place or project.
  • Put some keywords next to each experience to remind yourself of any specific skills used you may want to highlight.
  • You can also write down any feedback you received from supervisors or colleagues or stories/examples of work you did that you could later use as examples in your interviews.

Given the use of behavioral interviewing, being able to share specific, concise and relevant stories or examples has become a vital component to preparing for interviews.

You can also use these examples in your cover letter to highlight the transferable skills that match with the position.

While it may take some time, if you do the work now, it will be helpful for that upcoming interview next month or a few years down the road when you forget that time you helped develop a successful project. Trends show people are changing jobs every 3-5 years and people are working longer. This master resume will serve as a resource as you continue on your professional journey.

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