Tips on improving resumes, tutorials on updating resumes, and examples of resumes.

How To Track Job Applications In Evernote

How To Track Job Applications In Evernote

Searching for a new job is stressful.  You might send out 100 resumes before you find the perfect job.  Make it easier on yourself by keeping your applications in order and easy to find.   Did you know you can track job applications in Evernote?

If you haven’t heard of Evernote or thought it was only a note-taking app, it is time to brush up on what this tool can do.  In this article, we will cover how to keep track of all the job applications you have submitted during your job search.

Disclosure: Guess what? Otters eat over 10 pounds of sashimi a day! To help offset the cost of food (and running this website), we receive a commission if you click on a link and purchase something.

Benefits of Using Evernote

  • Online access means your job search can happen anywhere
  • Everything is in one place – no need to open many files
  • Search for job keywords to find past applications
  • Track the status of a job application
  • Check if you’ve applied to a company before and if so, which job.
Quick Note
You will need an Evernote account to use the following tutorial.

The following steps will help you get set up to start tracking.

Create a Job Notebook

Your first step will be to create a notebook for all your job applications. Title this notebook “Job Applications” and add any letter or numbering system, if you use one.

Don’t create a stack or separate notebooks for each company or job type. Keep it simple and use Evernote’s powerful search function.

You Might Also Enjoy: How to Organize Evernote Notebooks for Ultimate Productivity

Job Application Tracking Template

For every job you apply to, use the same template.  This will make it easier as you move forward to know exactly what you sent and what is a part of each job.

Title your template “Job Application Template” and save it in your “Job Applications” notebook.  Create a shortcut to this note so you can use it over and over.

Keep a clean (empty) template and don’t copy from a job application note that you have previously filled out. Why?

If you re-use (copy from) a job template that already has content from another job, you may accidentally forget to remove old information.

It would be tragic to follow up with a hiring manager that never posted the job in question because you forgot to remove their contact information in the new note.

That won’t be you, though.  Because you now have a template you can use.

Job Tracker Template

Quickly check the status of your job applications and never forget to follow up again!

Evernote Plus, Pro, or Business User? Create a template and avoid the problem altogether!

How to Use the Job Application Tracker Template

The template may seem super simple, but that is the point.  It is important not to over complicate and allow you to get right to the point.

Fill in the details

Find a job you want to apply for?  Copy the job description, title, date the job closes and other details into your tracker.   Don’t rely on the job link.  Job postings get removed and expire.  The link may not work by the time the hiring manager starts reaching out to people for interviews.  This is especially important when preparing for interviews.

Read This: 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for a Job

Attach application files

This process is, after all, a job application tracker. Add your applications!

Evernote makes a simple note a multimedia opportunity.  If you created a custom resume for the job, and you should, you can attach it into the note.  

File Attachments to track job applications in evernote
Attach your resume and cover letter so you know what you presented to the company.

Attach your completed application.  If an online application allows you to “print” a version at the end, print it to a PDF or image file and attach it here.  This will help you if you get a callback.  Plus, it never hurts to have more information.

Set application status

This is an important part of the process, as it lets you know where each application left off.  You won’t wonder: “Did I follow up on this one already or was that the other project manager position?”

status update in job tracker template
Keep adding to the “Status” section.

The trick to success is to make the status quick to read and easy to understand.  Always include a date for the last time you did anything with the job application.  

For example:

04.15.2018 – Submitted Job Application and Resume

This tells you that on April 15th you applied for the job.  More importantly, it tells you that you haven’t done anything with that job since.

Let’s say the job application closed on April 30th and it is now May 7th.  If you haven’t heard anything, it might be time to reach out and follow up – let them know you are still interested in the job.  After you do this, you would add another line that says as much.

04.15.2018 – Submitted Job Application and Resume
05.07.2018 – Sent email to the hiring manager to saying I’m still interested (See attached)

If the hiring manager responds, you can include anything important then.

04.15.2018 – Submitted Job Application and Resume
05.07.2018 – Sent email to the hiring manager to saying I’m still interested (See attached)
05.10.2018 – Hiring Manager said they will start interviews by the end of the month and to follow up then.

Track job applications in Evernote until the final status reads one of the following:

06.02.2018 – Position Filled

Or, better yet:

06.02.2018 – Position Filled – BY ME! 🙂

Job Application Tracker Pinterest Image

Photo Credit: Jesus Kiteque on Unsplash

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The Functional Resume: Why You Need to Use It

The Functional Resume: Why You Need to Use It

If you’ve read any advice recently on building a resume you’ve probably heard of functional resumes. If not, we’ve got you covered. 

What is a functional resume?

A functional resume emphasizes skills and job functions as the primary organization method.

Most people use a standard chronological resume that sorts by jobs.  This starts with the most recent job first, listing all your duties for that job, then moving on to the next job.

A functional resume, by contrast, lists all experience by job duty. For example, let’s say you are a project manager who also managed a budget.  You would list all experience related to “Project Management”.  Then, below that, you would list all experience related to “Financial Management”. 

Why use a functional resume?

The most simple answer is that it is easy for hiring managers to read.  Make a hiring manager’s job easier and increase your chance of getting an interview.

When you choose a functional resume you organize the job duties to match the job you are applying for.  Are they looking for an office manager who also does bookkeeping? List your experience related to these two items. 

Your resume isn’t actually about you. It is a sales pitch to solve the problem of the business.

If they need an event planner, be sure your resume shows all the experience you have in event planning. 

It helps you get to the point

A functional resume skips the extraneous information about past jobs that aren’t related to the job you are applying for.

Some people think the more duties they show, the more hirable they are. But this actually creates a lot of clutter for the hiring manager to sift through. If it is too much work, your resume will end up in the trash!

Instead, focus on the job keywords and showcase your experience for only those responsibilities. 

Tips to Get to the Point

  • Choose 3-5 keywords to highlight. 
  • Make your first keyword phrase the primary job function. 
  • Your functional resume should never be more than 1 page long.

It helps you sell yourself

Once you know what you are going to talk about in your resume, you need to sell yourself as the best candidate. 

It isn’t enough that you had the job. You want to prove how great you were in past jobs, and ultimately, how you will be an asset to the organization you’re apply for. Everything in your resume needs to answer the question, “How will you make our company better?”

It doesn’t take a magic eight ball to determine how to answer that question. Include these elements into your resume for a well rounded answer to this question:

  • Use well placed jargon
  • Share how you saved time or money
  • Show your commitment to your work

Show off how smart you are

Just because you were in a job with the title “Project manager” doesn’t actually prove you know anything. For all the hiring manager knows, you may have the job by accident or through nepotism, without any real understanding of what it entails.

There is an easy way to show you know what you are taking about, and that is through well placed jargon. Jargon is a term that refers to the words specific to your job or industry.  Someone who is not involved in that job wouldn’t necessarily know. 

  1. Think about the words you use everyday that you might need to explain to your friends or family who are not involved with the work that you do. This might include words like “quality assurance” or “acquisition process”. 
  2. Be sure to use phrases that make sense to your work.  A hiring manager needs to be able to recognize they are related to your job.  Also, unless you are applying for a highly technical job (i.e., you have a PhD in aerospace technology) avoid specific technology or acronyms.

Show how you made or saved money and time.

Your job has a function within the organization. Not all jobs are direct producers for the bottom line, such as sales.  Still, you should be able to make a correlation between your efforts and advancing company goals.  This might be in the form of saving time or money, or advancing the mission.

If you didn’t save time or money you are probably a lawyer.

Demonstrate the time or money you saved/made using numbers. Be specific and quantify as much as possible. 

Show your commitment to your work

A hiring manager doesn’t want to invest in someone who might leave the job soon. How do you indicate you are committed to your job? 
The best way is to simply show how integrated you are in your career. You can do this by including any of the following:

  • Certifications you have earned
  • Public speaking presentations or workshops you’ve given
  • Awards you’ve received
  • Classes or workshops you’ve attended
  • Volunteer or pro bono work you’ve done that is related to your career but above and beyond your job
  • Providing a meaningful contribution to your field

A Functional Resume is Easy to Create

With a functional resume you want to always tailor it to the job – so make it even easier to create by using a Master Resume tool.

Master Resume

Download the Master Resume Template and quickly create functional resumes.

Photo Credit: Joanna Kosinska from Unsplash

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Why Create a New Resume for Each Job Application

Why Create a New Resume for Each Job Application

You’ve heard the advice: customize your resume for the job you are applying for.

Before you start making excuses, let’s take a look at the reasons WHY you want to customize.

Your resume is run through a bot

Some companies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that compares your resume to the job description.  This software looks at similar keyword. If your resume doesn’t match the job post with enough keywords, it ends up in the trash.  All before a set of human eyes even has a chance to see it!

How to get past the ATS

In your resume, make sure you use plenty of the exact same keywords as the job description.  The software program can’t read between the lines, so make it as obvious as possible.

Hiring Managers Don’t Do Your Job

Your resume will likely also get screened by an HR manager who doesn’t know your job like you do.  They are also looking at keywords in your resume. Don’t use jargon, such as acronyms or proper nouns, unless they are in the job description.

Likewise, HR managers don’t have time to read three pages of job history. Avoid adding a lot of other job responsibilities that are not part of the job you are applying for. Too much information makes the keywords hard to find.

How to get past HR

Use the same keywords as the job description.  Also, keep it short, simple, and to the point so they can get to the content faster.  

It Shows You Read the Posting

When your resume lines up with the job posting, it shows you know what they are looking for.  Think of a job posting like a sales advertisement.  

A company has posted a flyer that reads “I need a 12 foot long red canoe”.  When people submit their resume, they are answering the ad with the type of canoe they have for sale.  

Most people will submit this:

“I have a 10 foot long canoe that is blue, has flames painted on the side, and comes with my cousin George to help you carry it”.  

The canoe part is okay, though not a perfect match. The cousin is unnecessary.

Some people will answer the ad with this:

“I have a green Jeep”.  

These people won’t get past the ATS.  

By staying targeted and focusing on keywords, your resume will read “I have a 12 foot long red canoe”.  And that, is how you will get an interview.

Want a little more help getting to the interview part?  Use a Master Resume Template to make customizing your resumes super easy!

Master Resume

Start with a master resume to make your job search as easy as copy+paste!

Photo Credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters from Unsplash.

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Write A Better Resume

Write A Better Resume

How to write a resume that make a hiring manager say, “this is the one!”

Writing is not everyone’s forte. In fact, writing can be one of the most cumbersome parts of a job and often the most put off. 

The biggest challenge to writing isn’t always the process itself, it is the outcome. Does your message translate well? Is it easy for other people to read and understand? 

When it comes to resume writing, you want to make doubly sure that what you write is easily understood by your audience (aka, hiring manager) because they use that to determine how qualified you are for a job.

So how do you make sure your resume is up to snuff? This article will help you write a better resume by breaking down the process into three parts:

  • Choosing which words to use
  • Creating a sentence
  • Building out the resume

Choosing Words

Before you start writing an essay on why you are the *perfect* candidate for the job, take a moment to think about the words you need to include.

Use Keywords

Simply put, keywords are the important words used in a job application that tell you what the job is about and what skills the company seeks in a good candidate. 

Use keywords in job descriptions to help you write resume sentences.

As you can see in the image, keywords can be adjectives (descriptive words), verbs (action words), and proper nouns. After you have read through a job post and determined it is a good fit, go back though and identify all the keywords. These are the same words you will want to use in your resume.  

Why use the exact same words? Because an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is likely the first scan of your resume. An ATS, or Applicant Tracking System is a software program used by companies that scans your resume to see how well it matches the job description.  It looks for words used in the job description to determine if your resume contains the same skill sets.  

If you use the same keywords in your resume as you do in your job, your resume has a chance at passing the test and being moved forward to human eyes.

What an ATS won’t do is look for is synonyms.  This means, if a job is looking for a Project Manager and your resume lists you as a “coordinator of various systems during product lifecycle”, you may be the perfect candidate that no hiring manager ever sees.  This statement doesn’t include either word, project or manager, even though to another project manager it may appear that is exactly what you do.  

In addition to software programs, it is important to keep in mind that hiring managers are often HR personnel who don’t necessarily have a good understanding of what your job entails.  This means you want to make it abundantly clear to them, as well, that you are a good candidate.  Basically, don’t assume someone with your skill set is screening your resume.

Use Action Words

Verbs (words that describe an action, like run, talk, coordinated, or managed) are strong words that indicate to a hiring manager what you actually did, instead of just what you were assigned to do.  They can also be used to demonstrate achievement.

Here is an example of how the verb “established” can be used to show your accomplishments:

“Established product quality assurance program that saved the company $1.5 million in repairs”

This sentence tells someone that the benefit to the organization (saving money in repairs) directly involved you (you established the program).

Wake Forest University has a great resource this: Action Verbs for Resumes.

Now that you have a list of verbs and keywords you know you want to include, it is time to create those sentences.

Write in Third Person

Unlike when writing a cover letter, where you write in first person, a resume is presented differently.

When you write sentences in your resume you want to make sure you are using a “third person” voice.  Not sure what that means?  Here is a quick reference:

First Person Point of View

How we generally speak (I, we)

  • “I received a B.S. in Geology from the University of Washington.”
  • “We coordinated a large event of over 500 attendees each year”

Second Person Point of View

When referencing other people, often at someone else.

  • “You will see a resume with a number of valuable skills”

Third Person Point of View

Either referring to yourself by name, or not mentioning your name at all

  • “Taylor enjoyed building strong customer service skills”
  • “Established standard protocol for product development”

Rules of Thumb

  • Don’t use your own name in the body of your resume
  • Avoid “I, you, we” (pronouns)
  • Start sentences with action words (verbs)

Use Full Sentences

Using complete sentences makes a resume easier to read and allowed you to get your point across.  This doesn’t mean sentences can’t be somewhat fragmented, but avoid lines that don’t complete an idea.

Instead of this:

  • Python and C++
  • $50,000 in sales in one year
  • Was in team of 10

Try this:

  • Proficient in both Python and C++ with experience in over 20 client projects
  • Set company record for generating $50,000 in sales during one fiscal year
  • Worked closely in a team of 10 other designers to meet company-wide initiative

Imagine, as a hiring manager you are looking over a resume that lists “$50,00 in sales in one year”.  Your next question is going to be “why is this important?”  You will want to know if this is a lot in sales for the organization, if this was a personal best, or if the applicant completed this goal on their own.  Context can help a hiring manager fill in the gaps.

Quantify Your Work

Use numbers, facts, figures, and statistics.  This is a more advanced resume technique that has a big impact.  Quantifying your achievements helps a hiring manager understand how well you performed, how much their organization can expect to gain from your expertise, and how successful you are as an employee.

More than just adding numbers, you want to then show how these numbers made an impact.

Example #1

Instead of:

  • Proficient in Python and C++


  • Over 10 years combined experience in Python and C++ working with 20 client projects

Even better:

  • Used 10 years of experience in Python and C++ to complete 20 projects, saving clients over $35,000 in lost product sales.

Depending on what kind of work you do, you may not always have access to the financial figures at a macro level.  However, you can still quantify your work in other ways.

Example #2

Instead of:

  • Worked in a team of 10


  • Worked closely in a team of 10 other designers to meet company-wide initiatives

Even better:

  • Reduced processing errors 23% by working with team of 10 designers to establish project criteria based on company-wide initiatives

What Can Be Quantified?

  1. Size of your organization
  2. Amount of money you made or saved
  3. Number of employees you train or manage
  4. Number of board members you report to
  5. How many times a week you complete a task
  6. The size of your duties (3 baseball fields mowed; 75 deliveries each day)
  7. Customer satisfaction ratings
  8. Sales outcomes
  9. Marketing metrics 

Be Selective

Now that you have the sentences you want, be selective about what you include.  

Repeat after me: I won’t include everything.

It can be tempting to include everything you have ever accomplished on your resume.  Certainly you want a hiring manager to see how versatile you are?  Well, it could actually be used against you.

You don’t need to tell the whole story in your resume – that is what the interview is for!

An ATS may dock you points for having too many unrelated keywords in your resume, so make sure it is targeted.  A hiring manager is only looking for candidates that fit a specific job, so other skills may actually look like you haven’t used the pertinent skills for very long, or perhaps it isn’t your primary interest.

You don’t need to tell the whole story – that is what the interview is for!

Keep Sentences Concise

If your sentences run more than two lines at 10-12pt font, you need to trim it down.  Consider breaking up those sentences so they are two or three points, instead.

Another way to shorten sentences is to take out filler words.


Too long:

  • Worked with team of over 10 other designers to put together important documents to be used for clients over the course of 3-5 years after initial meeting to make sure all deliverables are addressed and client needs are met in keeping with company-wide initiatives.


  • Gathered documentation of deliverables for clients in conjunction with team of 10 designers as related to company-wide initiatives.

Highlight One Point Per Bullet

Just like above, you don’t need to cram in too much.  Instead, use another bullet point to make that item stand out.

Too much information:

  • Set company sales record for generating $50,000 in sales during the same month received employee of the month of helping out during training, all within one fiscal year

Break it down:

  • Set company sales record for generating $50,000 in sales during one fiscal year
  • Received Employee of the Month award for demonstrating leadership during team training exercises

Building the Resume

Now that you have your resume sentences, it is time to put it all together.  Think about it like creating the building blocks of a story.  You want a beginning, middle, and end – without anything unrelated.

Combine Sentences for Full Picture

Alright, you have a list of strong sentences that describe the work you’ve done.  You’ve trimmed away all the excess that doesn’t relate to the job you are applying for.  You now want to make sure your resume creates a complete picture of who you are.  Double check your resume and make sure you have at least one sentence of each of the following:

  • Time or money you saved
  • Career accomplishments (awards, honors, speaking opportunities)
  • Jargon used in your industry
  • Demonstrates leadership
  • Tackles a challenge

Some of your sentences may contain more than one of the above, and that is okay.

Finally, make sure your sentences are in an order that makes sense to a hiring manager.  

Start Broad

This will give a hiring manager the best idea of who you are.  Which of these sentences do you think should go first on a resume?

  • Reconciled $40,000 following over expenditure of discretionary spending, resulting in 75% reduction in net loss and the ability to reinstitute nonprofit programming budget.
  • Used over 10 years of nonprofit financial management to establish reliable fiscal team and board treasury.

One of those sentences helps you understand what their job was, the other addressed the details.  While the first sentence certainly showcases a success, the second sentence helps set the stage.  By reversing the order, a hiring manager can tell that this candidate “reconciled $40,000” as a financial manager, rather an as a bookkeeper.

End with Growth

While the middle and end are not as important (most HR just scan a resume anyway), one of the ways to end strong on your resume is with an example of how you want to grow.  This helps a hiring manager understand why you would want a new job, how you can continue to bring new things to the table, and knows you aren’t just phoning it in.

Which one of these sentences do you think packs the most punch as a conclusion?

  • Took initiative to enroll and complete ABC Sales Training Certification course in order to advance my career.
  • Worked closely with 4 other sales managers to meet department goals.

In this case, the first sentence indicates that the candidate is ready for more. The second sentence might imply they enjoy their coworkers, maybe they aren’t ready to let go, or maybe they prefer working in teams with less responsibility.

By following these steps you are ready to write better resume sentences. Once you have your sentences, don’t forget to format into a nice, clean, and easy to read format!

Use one of Office Otter’s resume templates to get you started.

Photo Credit: Patrick Fore on Unsplash.

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6 Mistakes To Avoid When Applying for a Job

6 Mistakes To Avoid When Applying for a Job

There isn’t a lot of room for error when it comes to a job application.  It is your first impression.  At best, job application mistakes could result in a laugh between you and the hiring manager.  At worst, it could cost you the job.

In this article we aren’t talking about accidents, like sending a photo of your cat instead of a resume.  These are simple mistakes that people make all the time, are avoidable, but can cost you the job.  Many of these mistakes are so common you have probably done it and not even realized!  But don’t worry, we’ll share how to avoid them, too. 

Your Name Isn’t Saved On Your Resume File

First, let’s clarify what we are talking about here: 

Do you have a resume that just reads “resume” or “Resume 2018”?

Many people have resumes named like the one on the left.  Resume file names might reflect job type, such as “Admin Job Resume” or “resume-office3.doc”.   

Here’s the problem: Hiring Managers save resumes or get a batch download and end up with something like this. 

job application mistake: not correctly naming your resume file
Where do you even start?  Oh look!  There is Jill Sanders!

They then have to figure out whose resume is whose and either rename and save or… wait… there is Jill Sanders’ resume!  Let’s start there.

We aren’t suggesting that all HR Managers only open resumes with names on them.  We are demonstrating how frustrating it is to get hundreds of resumes and not be able to tell them apart.  Thus, it would be reasonable to assume they will start with the resumes that are easier to sort and go from there.

Follow this Golden Rule: Make a hiring manager’s job EASY to find, read, and select your resume.  This gives you the best chance at getting an interview.

How to Fix It

Avoid this job application mistake by naming your resume file accurately.  It can be as simple as Jill’s resume above.  Make sure you include both your first and last name and the word resume (to help separate it from the cover letter).

Not Saving the Job Posting

This job application mistake is very common. It also puts you in a tough position if you get a call back.

The job description is your key to understanding what an employer needs.  It is like a sales advertisement where they specify exactly what they are looking for, no more, no less.  Your resume and your interview should reflect what the job description is asking for. It is important to have more than a cursory understanding of it.

You may feel you know the job well when you apply for it, but what about a month later? It may be some time before you get a call for an interview so don’t rely on your memory.

How it Fix It

Don’t just save the link!  The link won’t work after a job posting closes. By the time you get a call for an interview, you won’t have access to the job description online.

Step up your game with Office Otter’s Job Application Tracker.

update status of job application in evernote

Job Tracker

Quickly check the status of your job applications.

Applying for More Than One Job at the Same Company at the Same Time

There is mixed advice about applying for many jobs with the same company.  Some people recommend that if it is the company culture you admire, why not hedge your bets?  Others advice against it, suggesting it can make you look desperate or unqualified.

You need to use your best judgement, but here is some advice for avoiding a negative outcome.

How to Avoid Looking Bad

Review all the job postings for the company and choose the position that you feel is the best fit for you.  Feel free to apply for another job if you are not given an interview.

Assume you get an interview for the first job, but it doesn’t feel like the right fit. Follow up after the interview and inquire about a different position. This shows interest in the company and are doing your research.

Not Applying for Jobs Above Your Current Skill Level

Part of finding a new job is stepping into a role you aren’t 100% comfortable with.  This is how you learn new skills and you grow in your career.

While it may seem scary, keep this in mind: job descriptions are a wish list of the perfect candidate. Companies pack a job description full of “it would be nice to have” or “this would be an added bonus”.  Hiring managers don’t expect candidate to have every single skill listed.

How to Fix It

Figure out which skills are necessary for the job and which are an added bonus.

Start applying for jobs one level above your current position or comfort level.  You will get a feel for the language used for that job position (see: keywords).

If you realize you have overreached, that is fine. You will still have a better idea of the job you are striving for and what you need to bring to the table.

Not Asking for the Job

Making it through to the interview round is a big step.  Because the interview is over doesn’t mean it needs to be a waiting game.

Too many people forget to send a thank you to the interviewer and, this is key, ask for the job.  

An interview is a bit like a first date.  Sure, the interviewer (or panel) may be less nervous than you, but that doesn’t mean they know what is going on in your head.  You meet, you chat, and afterward both parties go their separate ways.  It was a good date, right?  Do you want to see them again?  That part wasn’t so clear.

An interviewer might feel you are a great candidate, but they won’t know if you are still interested.  Clarification could help you stand out among the crowd.

How to Fix It

The day after the interview, send a thank you letter to the interviewer or panel.  Make sure to thank them for their time, ask any follow up questions, and then specify that you want the job.  

Here is an example: “Anne – Thank you for your time yesterday.  I learned so much more about XYZ Company.  I am excited to keep learning more and I hope we can continue forward.  Based on yesterday’s interview I am still interested in the position.”

Personalize it. Feel free to throw in a reference from your interview (“I am excited to learn more about the annual gala”). Or mention the next step (“Please keep me in mind for the second round of interviews”).

Not Creating a New Resume for Each Application

Okay, to be fair, this one isn’t exactly easy but it can be a lot easier by using a Master Resume.  

Master Resume allows you to apply to jobs quickly

Master Resume

Creating a new resume for each application is as easy as copy+paste.

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How to Create a Master Resume

How to Create a Master Resume

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 in Career, Tutorials, 0 comments