2 Types of Resumes: How to Write Master and Target Resumes

You're an active job seeker who uses quite a few ways to look for work. In some cases, you need a resume to put in the public eye so that you get found by recruiters. Other times you need target resumes to go after very specific jobs. Is it good to have different types of resumes? Or should you use the same resume all the time?

The short answer: Most job seekers need two types of resumes for their job search. A master resume and some target resumes.

The 2 Types of Resumes

A few weeks ago I wrote 2 Resumes You MUST Have: Master Resume and Target Resume. Briefly, here's how I explained the difference between the two types of resumes:

The master resume is one that you would carry to a job fair and which you would post online as your social media profile. You might also post your master resume on one of the large resume sites such as Monster.com (not the #1 way to look for a job but it might be part of your job search plan). It's a resume that acts like a magnet to draw all the job options you might accept.

The target resume is one that's tailored for a specific job. A job seeker might easily have a few target resumes if he or she is seeking a few different types of jobs.

Here's one way to create both types of resumes: Start by writing your master resume. Then create your target resume by customizing your master resume for a specific job or type of work.

How to Write a Master Resume

As you create your master resume, remember, this resume is meant to attract all types of jobs you're willing to consider for your next employment. Here's what to do:

1. Make a list of all the work-related skills, activities,and responsibilities that indicate what you like to do and are willing to do in your next job.

2. Open a resume template for either a chronological resume format or combination resume format.

3. Write a very concise professional title under your resume heading (for example, Chef) or your line of work (for example, Culinary Arts Professional).

4. Create a Summary section that highlights the breadth of your experience to suggest all areas of your past that you're willing to repeat in your next job. For example:

  • 20 years experience as a culinary arts professional, ranging from line cook to executive chef.
  • Background in hotel kitchen management, fast-food operations, and five-star restaurants.
  • One or two more statements that support your employment possibilities.

5. List your work history, including all jobs that support the full range of jobs your are open to.

6. Write achievement statements for each job title. They should be about any and all things you liked doing and are willing to do again.

How to Create Target Resumes

Keep in mind that each of your target resumes should be tailored to a specific job or type of work. Starting with your master resume, here's how to convert it into a target resume.

1. Know what job you're targeting. For example, Executive Chef at Hotel Crazy Horse.

2. Identify the keywords that define your job objective. You can get this information from job posts on the company website or by conducting an online search for the type of work you seek.

3. Make a copy of your master resume and name the new resume file for the target resume you're creating.

4. Get the right keywords in your target resume. If any are missing from #2, find a way to get them in there.

5. Delete statements (even sections) that are not relevant to your job objective. In some cases, this may reduce the length of your resume quite a bit.

6. Adjust your professional title at the top of your resume so that it more closely resembles the job this resume is about to target. For example: Executive Chef.

7. Tailor your Summary section so that it contains only qualifications for your target job. For example:

  • 10 years experience as an Executive Chef in major five star restaurants.
  • Background in hotel kitchen management for one of the country's largest corporate hotel chains.
  • (A few more statements that support your specific job objective.)

8. List your work history.

9. Write achievement statements that focus on the relevant parts of each job. Focus on the same skills you would use in your target job for that resume. It's fine to leave out tasks that don't relate to your target objective.

Review your target resume each time you use it to be sure it's tailored for the specific job you're going after.