This step-by-step tutorial will teach you how to create a master resume and use it to make applying for jobs 10x easier!

Job searching is tough.  It is time-consuming, emotionally draining, and frustratingly filled with rejection.

Couple that with advice like “go to networking events” or “find out who the hiring manager is” and finding a job turns into a second job (with no pay!)

Then, there is one piece of advice that everyone hates: customize your resume for every application.

We admit.  This one is a bit daunting.  Some people even scoff at the idea of a customized resume.  Why wouldn’t a hiring manager want to just see all of my skills and background?

However, customizing your resume makes it easier for a hiring manager to identify you as the perfect candidate. It increases your chances of getting an interview and then a job.

You might be thinking – “But creating a  new resume for every single job application sounds really time consuming!”  Normally we would agreed with you, but not today.

Office Otter is going to share a trick with you to make applying for jobs 10 times easier!  It is called: The Master Resume. *trumpets sound*

What is a Master Resume?

The Master Resume is your resume with everything in it.  And we mean everything.  Remember that summer internship where you learned the ins and outs of getting coffee between meetings about team work?  It is on there.  What about that temporary position you took as a data entry consultant?  It is on there, too.  This resume is an accumulation of everything you have ever done.

In addition to every job, it also includes every detail of every job.  Maybe you helped the short-staffed sales team put together those quarterly reports one year.  It wasn’t part of your usual job duties, but you learned how to do it, so it should be included.  Did your job involve working with people?  Data?  Financials?  Include it in a sentence.

Why use a master resume?

Because when you have everything in one spot it is easier to create a custom resume that meets the needs of the job you are applying for!

Once you have everything in a master resume, you can quickly copy and paste lines from your master into a resume template.  A resume template is a template you use to create new, customized resumes that you send out with job applications.  Having a blank template ready to go makes creating your resume much faster.

Simply follow these steps:

  1. Look for keywords in the job description
  2. Find those keywords in your Master Resume
  3. Copy from the Master Resume and Paste into your Resume Template
  4. Save your new resume & send with job application

The whole process should take 5-10 minutes.

how to create a master resume and copy and paste to custom resumes

When saving a resume, make sure your name is in the file name so hiring managers can find your file easily!

Read: Six Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for a Job

Be sure to check out Office Otter Resume Templates.  All of our templates are designed to be easy to read, simple to use, and come with tutorials.

How to Create a Master Resume

A Master Resume is a vital tool to have in your pocket.  It is not something you create every time you need a new job.  On the contrary, it is actually something that, if managed well, should stay with you for the rest of your career.

The steps below will help you get started on creating your master resume.

List all of your past jobs

While there are strong arguments to be made for a functional resume format, a master resume will be easier to work with if it is chronological (or by job).  Start by listing all the jobs you have ever worked.  Sometimes this can take awhile, but it is helpful to be thorough.

Make sure to include the following:

  • your official job title
  • dates you were at the job
  • name and contact information of your manager (or preferred reference).
  • any extended volunteer work

If you changed jobs within the same company, list both jobs separately with different titles.

Describe Your Work

This is what would typically be included in a resume or job post.  There isn’t such a thing as “too much information” in a Master Resume.  If you did the work, or learned something, make sure to include it.

Also include every award or certificate you’ve received.  These achievements are the things you want to stress during any job search.

You Might Enjoy: How To Write A Better Resume

Add Keywords

This is where a master resume comes in handy.  Keywords.  Every job application will include a keywords regarding what that job is really about.  It may not be obvious at first, but the more you look, the more you start to recognize short, often single words, that collectively tell you about a job.

Ideally, the resume that you submit will include keywords that match that of the job description.  You can’t expect someone to read between the lines and assume that just because you were an event planner you also handled a budget.  That is, if anyone is reading it at all

How do we make sure our resume includes keywords?  Find the matching keywords in our master resume.

The easiest way to do this is to take a sentence in your resume and identify a keyword within that sentence, or define what that job duty is about.

Example #1: Single Keyword

For example, you have a job duty that reads, “Managed $25,000 budget for 5 national events annually.”  This is clearly in relation to budgeting or financials, so you would add “[Budget]” to the beginning of that sentence.  You have just categorized that phrase to make it easier to parse out when you create a Resume Template.

create a master resume and add keywords

Example #2: Multiple Keywords

Sometimes it may be more complicated, however.  Let’s say your sentence is, “Created and maintained databases of program information to produce reports for program activity.”  If this task was performed as an administrator, you would put “[Admin]”.  

Alternatively, if you were working as a project manager (or looking to get promoted into a project manager position) you might find it more applicable to put “[Project mgmt/admin]”.

It is always acceptable to put multiple keywords with a sentence.  Much of the work we do has cross-over.  However, before you start piling on the keywords, consider if the sentence itself contains too much information. Would it be more impactful as two or three sentences?

Keep Adding

As you go through the application process you will probably find yourself editing the sentences you originally created to better fit a job application. This is great!  Record it.

If you create a new way to describe your last job, shouldn’t it go in your Master Resume to be used again in the future?  Copy the edit from your resume template and copy into a new line in the master resume, under the same job.

You will likely also find that jobs you want, or “reach jobs”, contain descriptions of job duties you had never considered. Try incorporating those keywords into your resume, if applicable.

Stay Committed

Creating a Master Resume means you have just created a tool for life.  This one document should last you for forever if you maintain it.  Don’t lose this document or delete it once you find a job.  As you know, it is a headache to create a resume from scratch.

Additionally, don’t let your master resume gather cobwebs.  If you keep the file someplace you can access regularly, be sure to check in.  

Here are the best times to update your master resume:

Getting a New Job

Add all the elements of the job description to your master resume so you know what you were hired for.  Keep the job description because it is full of sentences you don’t have to write!

4 Months in Job

After a little time on the job you will have a better handle on what it is that you do for the company.  Go back through the job description and add duties that were not originally included.  Flush out the details.

1 Year in Job

This is where you should (hopefully) have accolades to add.  Every achievement you made in the last year, every successful project you helped work on.  This is the kind of stuff that will probably come up in a performance review as well.

Promotion or Job Change

A shiny new office also includes more responsibilities.  Make sure to copy them down before you lose track!

Now you know the one trick to make applying for jobs way easier!  You can create a master resume and save time, and stress, for this job search and the rest of your career.

What could be any easier than that?

If Office Otter had a Master Resume Template…

Oh wait, we do.

Master Resume

Use this template to create a master resume of your own!

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Posted by Amanda Parsons

Amanda has always had an appreciation for writing instructions that are easy to follow. When not curled up with her laptop trying to figure out why Word on the Mac is so weird, she can be found kayaking in the Pacific Northwest.

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