Writing Just One Resume

…If You Must !
Ideally, you want to customize your resume to the job you are applying for. But, what if you simply don’t have the opportunity to tailor your resume to each and every job lead you’re interested in? For example at a job fair or for an online job board.

Here’s how you can write just one resume. If you must!

Materials Needed

• Different colored highlighters
• 10 – 20 job leads of similar job titles or responsibilities

Steps to Take

1. Lay out all of the job leads. If you don’t have desk space to view each one, you might need to spread them out on the floor. Don’t stack the papers; you want to be able to see all of them.

2. Focus on and read any sections labeled “Requirements”, “Qualifications”, or related titles.

3. Determine your color-coding system. Consider highlighting different items, each with a different color:

• Skills you have performed for five or more years
• Activities you enjoy doing
• Responsibilities you’re capable of doing but don’t like to do so much
• Duties you haven’t done but are confident you can do
• Information that is repeated in all or most of the job leads
• Words or phrases prefaced with “Requires” or “Must have”
• Words or phrases prefaced with “Prefers” or “Desires”

4. Review the information you’ve highlighted. What repeats the most? For example, if the phrase “Must have excellent computer skills” or something similar is included in a majority of the job descriptions, then include this in your resume along with an example of how well you’ve demonstrated excellent computer skills. It’s important to coordinate your experiences with the needs of the employers but avoid just restating the words from the job descriptions in your resume.

The most frequently given resume advice that I have read in articles and heard from employers, job search experts and job seekers who have found work is this: customize your resume for each job lead.

However, if your circumstances don’t permit you to do this or you’re struggling to even write your first resume, use the instructions above to help guide you in creating just one resume – if you must!

Josie Toth is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions in the Houston – Galveston area. She conducts job search skills seminars throughout the 13 county Gulf Coast region. After serving in the military, Josie utilized Workforce Solutions’ services. Her desire to help people led to an employment counselor position with Workforce Solutions, which she held for four years, until she found her niche as a Regional Facilitator.

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