By DP Leighton, Assistant Director of Creative Careers, Career and Professional Development Services
Six seconds. ONLY SIX SECONDS! What’s that? The world record for solving a Rubik’s Cube? No, that’s 3.47 seconds.
Six seconds is the average time an employer spends on your resume. Scary, isn’t it? How the heck are you supposed to show your talents in only 6 seconds unless you’re rubik’s cube world champion Yusheng Du? Two words: master resume!
No, Master Resume it’s not a martial arts sensei from a 90’s cartoon. It’s a comprehensive resume that acts as the starting point for you to create your tailored resume each time you apply to a new position. Saving you lots of time and energy - something you will need a lot of when you are pounding the job search pavement.
So how do you get started - follow the simple rule of keep writing and edit later!
Rather than re-write a new resume each time you’re applying to a job, it’s easiest to copy-and-paste from a laundry list of skills and experiences that match what the employer wants. You do this from your master resume. A master resume is a very long, drawn out version of your regular resume that you pull from when applying to different jobs. The master resume is the perfect tool regardless of age, experience, or career industry. Unlike a one or two page resume, this master resume can be as long as you need and should continue to grow throughout the years. Start by writing down a job, project, or experience and just go nuts with descriptions. Look at a thesaurus for different ways to say the same thing. Look up resume action verbs to include in each point. You want as many points as you can think of.
I can already hear you. “But I didn’t really do much! It was just something little.” Take a typical part time cashier position - you managed over 300 transactions in a day, provided amazing customer service, and upheld quarterly sales metrics. You didn’t just babysit for the neighbors. You leveraged personal and professional networking skills, developed trusting relationships with customers, and engaged with clients of various ages and demographics. Dissect each task like a dramatic surgery scene from Greys Anatomy.
So now that you have a master resume, it’s time to use it. When you’re reading a job description, highlight key words and phrases that jump out at you. That job description wasn’t written by accident! They wrote it for a reason. You are expected to read it with dedication. Once you take note of the different key words, cross-reference your master resume for tasks that match. Next, copy all those bullet points down in your resume. If you find you have too many, and I hope you do, that’s when you either combine sentences or ask someone else to trim it down for you. Many jobs will ask you for a cover letter where you can draw on points that didn’t make the cut to your resume.
BAM! There’s your stellar resume that the employer will love.
Employers will absolutely recognize the time and effort you put in to craft a resume just for them. Even if you are perfect match, even if the job seems made for you, even if you’ve already had the job in the past, even if I contacted you and personally asked you to apply, you risk losing it all by throwing out the same ol’ resume over and over and over.
So make the job search task a breeze starting with the creation of your master resume and using it to tailor your resume’s to each and every job. Remember to keep updating it with each new job, experience, education completed and skills acquired.