Resumes and Cover Letters

Job Search Time Saver: The Master Resume

Woman working on her resume at a laptop

One of the most common complaints I hear from job seekers is that it takes so much time.

Each online job application can consume the better part of an hour—and that’s just the time it takes to fill out the required information. Before that happens, you also have to customize your documents. As any self-respecting job seeker knows, every resume and cover letter you submit should be tailored for the specific role to which you are applying.

Yes, job search can certainly feel like a full-time job in and of itself.

Sadly, there’s not much you can do to make the online application process any faster. That’s just a necessary evil. But you can save serious time when customizing your documents by using a simple strategy called The Master Resume.

How It Works

First, let’s reiterate how customization works.

When applying for a job, look at the description and identify the key skills and qualifications that are most important for the role. You want to make sure that you address each of these items in the body of your resume, ideally in coordination with something specific you’ve achieved in the past.

Most of the time, you’ll be adjusting the bullet points of your resume. Your employment history, obviously, will remain the same. But the things you highlight about each role will change to match the position you’re seeking. So, for each customized resume, you may end up writing a few new bullet points to call attention to items not previously noted.

Also read: How to Customize Your Resume to Demonstrate Your Value to Employers

Using the Master Resume technique, you want to capture all of these bullet points in one master document. This document may end up being many, many pages long. Over time, you may end up with 15 or 20 bullet points for one job you held years ago. Certainly, you would never include all of those in your final resume. However, with the master document, you can easily pick and choose the ones that are most relevant for a role, thus preventing you from having to recreate the wheel with each customization.

This idea is practically genius in its simplicity! You’ll no longer have to waste time searching through dozens of past versions of resumes to find the perfect bullet point. You won’t have to write new bullet points from scratch when you know you’ve already written similar ones in the past. That Master Resume document will serve as your catch-all.

Also read: Targeting an Executive Role? Make Sure Your Resume Focuses on These 3 Areas

In my experience, people are much more inclined to customize when it’s easy. Taking the time now to capture things in one central place will reduce the amount of time and mental effort it takes in the future. That way, you won’t be as tempted to send in generic docs just to avoid the hassle of customization.

About the Author

Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach, corporate trainer and public speaker who believes work can be a nourishing part of the life experience. Her website, Eat Your Career, is devoted to this mission. Chrissy is currently a contributing career expert for U.S. News & World Report and the author of the book, The Proactive Professional: How to Stop Playing Catch Up and Start Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life!), available on Amazon.