Recruited 101: Use A Master List To Customize Your Resume

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The strongest candidate won’t get far in recruitment season without a strong resume.

Even if you’re only applying for one kind of job, every organization is different and every job posting is unique. In order to make sure that your relevant skills and experience stand out, you should create a specific, targeted resume for each application you prepare.

While it may seem easier to simply write over an old draft of a resume each time you apply to a new job, you’ll run the risk of losing specific pieces of information if you aren’t organized. This can result in a lot of wasted time spent searching through past applications.

So, how can you actively keep track of your job application progress?

We recommend creating a “Master List” – a personalized spreadsheet that will help you organize your job application information. Once created, you can use your spreadsheet to keep track of online applications, record work and volunteer experience, look up contact information for references and more!

The best part? Having all of your information in a single, organized and regularly updated document will make the job application process more efficient and less stressful.

Starting your Master List

Create a spreadsheet and add tab sections that correspond to the different sections on your resume.

Tabs help you organize and separate your information, while still keeping everything in a single document. Use the usual sections on a resume (Experience, Education, etc.) to name the tabs. You can then input information directly from old drafts of your resume into your spreadsheet. Be sure to sort each section chronologically and include relevant details.

Bonus: Putting together a Master List is also a great chance to brush up those spreadsheet skills

Skills & Experience

Place your volunteer experience and work experience in separate columns.

When recording your skills and experience, keep volunteer and work experience separate so you can find relevant information quickly. You can further organize your experience using the following headers: Skills, Date, Description, and Results. These headers will help you keep track of projects and outcomes, which you can then refer to when crafting a resume.

Bonus: Keeping a record of your experience and accomplishments will help you prepare for job interviews or networking sessions, where you may need to recall this info unexpectedly.

Education

Use the education tab to keep track of your educational history, awards and related activities.

It’s hard to remember awards you won in first year, especially by fourth year or after graduation. Keep track of this information in your spreadsheet so you can refer back to previous years quickly. You should also include extra-curricular information, as employers often ask about this during interviews.

Bonus: This tab is especially useful when applying for academic scholarships, which often require detailed information on your schooling!

References & Contacts

Use your Master List to organize your contacts and list references. 

Emails and business cards often pile up or get thrown away. Instead, input contact information into your spreadsheet to keep track of individual contacts and important details. It may also be a good idea to note whom you have previously used as a reference and who could act as a reference in the future.

Bonus: While a contact list may seem outdated, having a personal log of contacts will make sure you don’t forget about promising leads you haven’t yet emailed or added on LinkedIn. Also, if a contact gives you unpublished contact info (like a personal email), you can keep track of it here.

Get cracking!

Sorting out the information may seem time consuming, but it will streamline the application process down the road. Trust us – the investment of time is well worth it.

So what are you waiting for? Start creating your own Master List in time for campus recruitment season!

Did you find this method useful? Be sure to check out more content in Recruited 101 to get ahead in campus recruitment this fall!

Photo credit: Niklas Bildhauer on Flickr

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About the author

Jessica Cruz 's scattered thoughts, ideas and quirky comics travel from her mind to paper. She enjoys narrative writing, graphic design, outdoor sports, and occasionally defeating virtual zombies. Her final year at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan College (joint program) lands a double major in Communication, Culture & Information Technology (CCIT) and Professional Writing. She faces a career quest in the realm of marketing, design, writing, and web. Find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.