One of the most common resume tips is to tailor your resume to each individual job before applying. This advice is common because it’s effective. But many people continue to submit generic resume after generic resume because they believe, mistakenly, that it’s time-consuming to create a targeted resume for every single job. If you have a career management document or master resume, it doesn’t have to take long at all.
What is a career management document or master resume?
Similar to a curriculum vitae (CV), your career management document, also known as a master resume, is a document where you keep track of all your experience and every professional accomplishment. Update it on a regular basis — monthly or quarterly — so that you don’t forget the details of major projects or other accomplishments. You can also update it with information related to community involvement or volunteer work.
In addition to your professional accomplishments and experiences, your career management document is where you keep a master list of your skills, credentials, and a bank of keywords related to your field. You will draw from each of these sections later to create individual, targeted resumes.
Your career management document should chronicle every job you’ve ever had, from internships to summer jobs to special projects you’ve completed. Studying your career management document can also help you prepare for an interview, as it will give you the opportunity to review all of your past accomplishments. You can even include a section where you write briefly about memorable work situations that would serve as good answers for interview questions. Seeing your entire career history laid out can spark ideas about common threads or future paths that you may not have considered.
You can also use the career management document as the basis for filling out your LinkedIn profile. A LinkedIn profile doesn’t have the same standards for lengths as a resume and can be more of a catch-all than any resume you submit for a job. You can and should list extra details, such as specifics about coursework in your education section. That said, you should still edit your experience and optimize your LinkedIn profile (with Jobscan) for the types of jobs you want.
Creating a targeted resume
The career management document/master resume serves as the foundation for any targeted resume you create. Once you’ve completed your career management document, it’s easy to simply choose the pieces that are most essential to the job. You shouldn’t have more than three to five bullet points under any given job on your resume, but there’s no limit to the number you can include on your career management document. Just choose the ones most relevant to the job that interests you.
Once you have picked the details you’ll include on your targeted resume, the next step is to make sure that you use the right keywords. Use terminology that matches the wording used in the job posting.
After you have created a targeted resume from your career management document, you can give it a test run to see how well you’ve matched it to the job. Paste your resume and the job description into the Jobscan analysis tool, and you’ll get an instant rating, plus feedback about what you can improve. A few minor tweaks might be all you need to improve your resume—and thus your chances of landing an interview. Considering how high the payoff is, and how straightforward the process is, it’s no wonder that targeting your resume for each and every job is one of the most common resume tips around.