Job search hack: create a summary resume

Close up of a person's hands resting on a tabletop holding a single-page resume.

Have you ever seen a job you wanted to apply for, but felt paralyzed because customizing your resume to fit the position would take too much time? Here’s a hack to make resume updates easier: create a summary resume.

Summary resume: what it is

A summary resume is a master document that lists all of the potential items you might ever want to include on any version of your resume. This version of your resume is not one you’ll ever actually submit – it’s a back-end version just for you.

Include all your past jobs, all of your volunteer experiences, any leadership position you’ve ever held, any award you’ve ever won. It doesn’t matter how long this document is; this is your personal repository of everything career-related, an archive you can pull from whenever a new job opportunity comes along.

Why create a summary resume?

Rachel Palmer, the career advisor for OSU’s College of Science, likes to describe creating a summary resume as stocking the shelves of your personal grocery store.

“You’re getting everything ready. It’s all written. You’re good to go. You don’t have to remember those details later,” she says. “And then when you find a job, it’s going to tell you in the position description what they’re looking for. That becomes your grocery list. Then you just go back to your store, pick the things that demonstrate those qualities, and you curate it into your submittable resume.”

Rachel Palmer, Assistant Director of Career Development

It’s a trick that takes a little time on the front end, but can save you hours in the future. Once you have your summary, save it and add to it whenever you complete a major project, get a promotion, or start a new role.

What to add to your summary resume

Not sure what to put on your summary resume? Here are some tips to get you started:

Learn from experts about how to create a master resume document to pull from.

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