Have you ever heard of a “master resume”? Think of it like a master playlist, or a master recording. It’s EVERYTHING, every bit of raw, employment-related information you have, all compiled in one place. And you, dear mama, NEED one!
We’ve discussed before why SAHMs shouldn’t ignore their resumes while they’re home. We’ve even talked about the SAHM resume — you’ve snagged your FREE SAHM resume template and tip sheet, haven’t you? — and the SAHM cover letter, specifically tailored to the job search needs of mamas with gaps in their employment.
However, we’re still missing this one piece of job search gold: Mom’s Master Resume!
If you’ve ever unexpectedly come across a job posting that sounds perfectly suited for you, you may know the panic of realizing your resume is several years (or decades!) out of date. You basically have to start from scratch, which is ZERO fun — unless you’re a professional resume writer or otherwise just love creating resumes. (In which case, more power to you! Go for it, mama!)
However, if updating or coming up with a resume out of thin air is as stressful for you as it is for most mamas, you’re probably freaking out. You may even consider hiring a resume writer to help you! (Which is a FABULOUS idea, btw. Professional resume writers know EXACTLY how to make mamas like you shine!)
Regardless of whether you decide to DIY your resume or hire a professional, having a Master Resume as a jumping off point will make the process MUCH easier.
Why Should You Create a Master Resume?
You’ll be EFFICIENT.
When you’re ready to start job hunting, you won’t have to waste any time compiling all your old employment history, trying to remember what groups you’ve volunteered for, or what community leadership positions you’ve held over the years.
It’s all right there ready for you!
Saving yourself time is HUGE as a busy mom who is considering diving back into the working world. Plus, if the job you’re applying for has a deadline of, oh, I don’t know, today, there’s no need to freak out. Copy and paste the items needed, maybe make a few quick tweaks, and off it goes.
No wasted time in THIS job hunt!
You’ll be PREPARED.
My job history is, well, scattered. I’ve worked as a public high school Spanish teacher, a university Resident Director and Career Counselor, a contract Resume Writer, and now I’m running my own business online. It’s not like I have a nice, tidy resume filled with all marketing positions with increasing levels of responsibility.
If I had to bet, I’d say you have a pretty non-linear trajectory in your work history, as well. (Most of us do these days.)
By the time we’re ready to apply for outside-the-home jobs, WHO KNOWS what types of jobs will appeal to us the most! With a Master Resume, no matter what types of jobs we ultimately choose down the road, we’ll have ALL our experiences prepared and easily accessible to start the targeting process.
You’ll be ORGANIZED.
Not only will you have all the needed pieces of information prepared and ready to go, you will also have that information ORGANIZED in a manner that makes it incredibly easy to find, copy, and paste later on.
No matter what skills or experiences you need to highlight for a particular application, you can find exactly what you need all in one place.
If I didn’t have a Master Resume, I’d be forever bouncing between my “teaching” resume, my “student affairs” resume, and my “online business” resume, trying to find the information needed. NOT fun. ?
You’ll be ENCOURAGED.
Being a mom — especially a stay-at-home mom — is SO HARD. (Actually, hard doesn’t even begin to fully cover the subject.) And often, we get lost in “the mom zone” and forget who we were before kids.
What we liked. What we were good at. It’s just… gone.
It feels like we can barely remember if we fed the kids breakfast this morning, much less what our put-together, professional selves were like ages ago!
When we just can’t seem to remember, and we’re doubting ourselves as we enter a job hunt — or, you know, on a regular old Tuesday — a Master Resume can be that encouraging, “I was good at this!” reminder for us moms.
A Master Resume is a compact re-telling of all our greatest professional achievements. Anytime we’re about to lose our ever-loving minds with our kids, we can pull up our Master Resume and get that reminder that we are strong, intelligent, and capable.
We can handle boardrooms and deadlines, and we can handle a two-year-old refusing to nap.
We’ve got this!
HOW to Create Your Master Resume!
Can you see the value in having a Master Resume for yourself? Awesome! Now, let’s walk through HOW to make it!
1) Compile everything.
If you’re like me, you may have multiple versions of previous resumes stashed away somewhere on your computer. (Or in a file cabinet or pad folio.) Now is the time to find ALL of them.
Take a quick look. Is there anything missing? Volunteer work? Community leadership positions? Did you have a HUGE win at your last job that never made it on to your resume?
Take the time to craft accomplishment-driven bullets for anything not already covered. Don’t worry about formatting at this point. Just brainstorm. (Formatting comes next!)
2) Set up easy-to-read formatting.
Next, either find a simple template to use or create a basic template for yourself. Here are a few quick tips to make life easier during this step:
Choose a basic, easy-to-read font
My resumes had three different fonts, three different font sizes, and three different bullet styles! When creating your Master Resume, choose ONE main font. Best practice is to use the same font throughout — for contact info, section headings, and body text.
However, if you’re like me and just can’t stand a “boring” resume, choose TWO fonts: one as your MAIN, body text font, and one to use for ACCENTS. Caution here, though: your accent font STILL needs to be basic and easy-to-read. (What good would it do to have your contact info, if they can’t read your NAME?)
I use Georgia for my body text, and Book Antigua for my section headings. They are VERY similar fonts, but it does give a slight visual distinction from the headings to the body. It’s enough for me. ?
Use the Paragraph Menu
Do NOT use hard returns between paragraphs/positions/sections. Use the “paragraph” menu to set an automatic space between paragraphs/sections. This way, your spacing will be consistent the whole way through the document, regardless of changes in font size.
To access the “Paragraph menu,” just right click (on a PC) or Ctrl + click (on a Mac). Click “Paragraph…” In the “Indents and Spacing” tab of the box that opens, you can adjust the spacing between paragraphs under “Spacing — Before.”
I typically use 6 pt between positions on my resumes, and 12 pt before a new section title. However, it’s YOUR resume! Choose a spacing that makes your heart happy, as long as it’s easy to read.
Format Your Contact Section
Choose a format and style for your contact information that you love and will work for any type of application. Make it easy on yourself to simply re-save/re-name your Master Resume as a targeted resume — without having to recreate your basic styling and information each time.
You can also use this formatting as “letterhead” for your cover letter to maintain a consistent, professional application with your own personal branding.
Format Your Page 2 Header
One of the most frustrating pieces of writing a resume is dealing with Page 2. In an electronic resume, labeling Page 2 isn’t huge deal. It’s all in the same, labeled document.
However, once the employer prints out your resume and puts it in a stack with 100 other applications, you want to make sure Page 2 doesn’t get lost! (*I’ve* never dropped a whole stack of papers and gotten everything out of order. Have you? ? *cough, cough* ahem… ?)
Anywho, you definitely don’t want your hard earned work history to get lost in the shuffle, so always be sure to CLEARLY label Page 2 with your name, contact info, and either “continued” or “Page 2 of 2” or however many pages you end up with. (Preferably not more than two for most positions!)
I like to create a header for Page 2 with the exact same Contact Info styling from Page 1. Just be sure to check “Different First Page” in the Header Toolbar, so you don’t end up with duplicate contact sections on your main page.
3) Input your information into your document.
You have your basic template ready to go, so now all you need to do is input that information you gathered in Step 1.
Regardless of what your previous resumes looked like, what fonts you used, what stylistic choices you made, etc., the goal with your Master Resume is to make EVERYTHING formatted the same way. (Hence, Step 2.)
Quick tip: After copying and pasting into your Master Resume, the font, font size, and bullet styles from the original resume will remain. To easily make sure everything matches your new Master Resume, simply click the drop down menu on the little clipboard-shaped icon that will pop up under the pasted content. Then, click “match destination formatting.”
As long as you have your template formatted the way you want it, matching it is a snap!
4) Write accomplishment-driven bullets for each experience.
Here is where you will spend the majority of your time if your resume hasn’t been updated in a while. You want these bullets to be the best quality you can produce, so you don’t have to re-write them every time you create a targeted resume!
Even if you’re working with a resume writer, still spend some time making sure the information and accomplishments listed here are as complete as you can make them. The more detailed information you can send to your resume writer, the better and faster your finished product will be!
Be sure to brainstorm. Talk with former coworkers, supervisors, and clients, and create bullets that highlight your best achievements in each position. And QUANTIFY anything you possibly can!
5) Save in a secure location for future reference!
You’ve done it! Your Master Resume is complete and ready for your next job search — whenever that may be. ? Be sure to save this document as “Last Name, First Name – Master Resume” and file it in a location that will be easy to remember and pull up when you need it.
With as glitchy as technology is when we need it, always make sure to keep a copy of your Master Resume either on an external hard drive or in some other cloud-based location. Knowing your document is safe — not locked away on a computer that refuses to turn on — is incredibly important for your peace of mind!
Are you ready to create your own Master Resume?
If you’re ready to get moving on your own Master Resume, don’t forget to grab your FREE SAHM Resume Template and Tip Sheet!
Save yourself the headache of create a template from scratch — just customize this one!
As always, be sure to comment below if you have any questions.
I can’t wait to see what you create! ?
As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: education! She writes to teach and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.