What is a Master Resume?

…and how it can save you time.

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By Joel Smith

You’re asking, ‘can’t I just have a master resume that does it all? Is tailoring my application really necessary for every job? And do I have to do it for my resume as well as the cover letter or selection criteria?’

Yes. One hundred percent. 

For every job.

Here’s why.

The profile of a recruiter

To understand why, you need to understand the profile of a recruiter.

  • They work either within an organisation or externally, and their job is to put the applications of the most qualified applicants on to the desk of the hiring manager.
  • Because they are not a technical specialist, their level of understanding about the position they’re working to fill will vary.
  • Like everyone, they are time poor, have hundreds of other things to do, and get too many applications per job.
  • The one thing they will never do is hunt through all the applications they receive and analyse, draw conclusions, and link information to work out whether they’re suitable.
  • They might even rely on an applicant tracking system to do some of the work for them.
  • You have to do the work for them.

What this means for your resume

If you submit an application that’s hard for them to read, they won’t put in the effort.

You might us different terminology than what is in the position description, and so they might not realise that you are the right candidateIf they use the term ‘time management’ in the position description, you should to. Don’t change it up on them and say organisational skills.

This is why you must tailor your application.

So how can a master resume help?

Having said that, there are some things you can do to make your life easier.

A master resume should have the following:

  • Skillset summary at the top of your complete skillset.
  • All your positions and tenure in each in a table on the first page.
  • A complete list of all your positions in reverse chronological order. This should have all the duties you completed under each including the softer skills like teamwork and communicating effectively.
  • Key achievements for each position listed under the duty statement you have developed.
  • All of your formal qualifications and education.
  • A reverse-chronological list of all professional development you have participate in.
  • Any volunteer experience you have had including a brief summary of your duties.
  • At least two professional references including their contact details and relationship to you.

By the time you’ve done all this, you’ll useful and complete record of you experience that still needs to be tailored for your next application.

Taming the master

So now you’ve got your master resume. How do you tailor it?

Take a copy of your master document, open it up, and start cutting. Let’s say you worked for three years tending bars, then had eight years in Government, and have since worked for five years in corporate business development roles. And you’re going for a business development manager position.

In this instance, go through and cut out what isn’t relevant. For the bar tending positions, you can remove these entirely, or just remove the duties and achievements as they’re no longer relevant. You don’t need to list your RSA anymore or your certificate in hospitality, as it’s not relevant to a business development manager position. Tailor your government duty statements to remove any jargon. Don’t talk about legislative interpretation but instead emphasise what you did in the job that is relevant for the position you’re applying for, like stakeholder engagement and process improvement.

What all of this achieves is a clear, concise, and sensible narrative that shows your experience honestly and openly. At the same time, it convinces the reader that it makes sense for you to be applying for the position. All your skills seem to line up, and your trajectory seems to have taken you right in to this new position.

What next for your resume?

If this all sounds like too much work, we agree! Application processes are getting more and more cumbersome and difficult. And it seems to be getting worse.

As always if you need some help, feel free to reach out to us. Otherwise, remember that putting in the effort now to get a complete and useful master resume will save you time in the long run.