The Single Most Important Tool to Building a Resume


Have you ever had someone send you a job announcement or you came across one and the application is due in a day or two. Without spending a whole day working on your resume, how can pull together a tailored resume in a timely fashion without starting from scratch?

Putting together a resume every time you come across a job you want to apply for can be a daunting task. But what if all you had to do to tailor a resume to a specific job announcement is choose from a list of everything you have ever done. Wouldn’t that be much easier than thinking of each and every time?

If you think you don’t need a resume now because you aren’t job searching for a while you are WRONG! Check out my article on 5 Reasons Everyone Needs to Job Search This Year.


Photo Credit: Chris Mullen

For over a decade now I have been using, what I call, an Exhaustive Resume. My exhaustive resume is about 10 pages long and has everything I have ever done. But it’s not about the length. The important point is that the exhaustive resume is complete and is all encompassing. Nothing is missing.

An exhaustive resume is a tool to put together a job specific resume in a much less time-consuming and more efficient way. [Tweet This]

What is an Exhaustive Resume?

An exhaustive resume is exactly as the name suggests – a document that includes everything you have ever done. Not just the jobs you’ve had but your responsibilities in that position, all your accomplishments, awards received, education, community service activities, etc. Everything you would ever need to construct a tailored resume.

What are the benefits of an Exhaustive Resume?

  1. Never forget what you have done. An exhaustive resume will allow you to have one central place where you can go see everything you have ever done in your career. It makes filling out applications and developing your resumes that much easier because you won’t need to rethink your jobs, responsibilities and activities every time.
  2. Create a tailored resume in faster time. Remember tailoring a resume to the specific job you are applying for will increase your chances of having your resume standout among everyone else who is applying for the same job. It’s faster because you have the ability to choose from a list of everything you have ever done. It is more efficient than using an old resume or trying to think of how your past experiences and jobs relate to the job you know want to apply for.
  3. The resume you submit will be higher quality. Because you will be using your exhaustive resume to build the resume you will submit with your job application, you can spend less time figuring out what to put on your resume and more time on the formatting, exact wording, your cover letter, and, most importantly, how the content meets the requirements of the job.

How to create an Exhaustive Resume?

This will take time and most likely can’t be done in one day but it will have a big payoff for you in the end.

Another payoff is once you are done with your exhaustive resume all you need to do it update it on a regular basis. Add an appointment to your calendar every month so you don’t forget.

If you would like to use the resume sections I use, go ahead and fill out my Exhaustive Resume Template.

Start with something easy. Complete the education section then move on to the experience section. When filling out the experience section use the job descriptions from you current and previous positions. These documents will aid you with the details like title and job responsibilities.

Take it slow and fill out everything you can. As you take breaks and go throughout your day you will think of all kinds of things that can be added to your exhaustive resume. Jot them down so you don’t forget them.

Remember – A lack of preparation now could cost you the job you want later! [Tweet This]

What’s your best tip for being prepared to fill out a tailored or job specific resume?


If you enjoyed this post then sign up below to have all of my updates delivered right to your inbox. [convertkit form=4935556]

4 replies
  1. Ben Fuller
    Ben Fuller says:

    I like the idea of always having an exhaustive resume – I will definitely look into making my own.

    My modest advice: Take the job description/posting and highlight anything in the first three-four lines, and anything that is mentioned more than once in the description. Then take your comprehensive resume and cater to those key phrases exactly as they are spelled out. I’ve only been in recruiting for a very short time, but when we’re sourcing candidates, the first cut is almost always based on a 5 second glance at a resume. The candidate may posses the right skills, but they have a much better chance of landing the job if they stay as close to the job description as possible.

    • Chris Mullen
      Chris Mullen says:

      Ben, great advice! Yes, get your exhaustive resume started. It is more helpful the sooner you start and make it a point to update it on a regular basis.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] An exhaustive resume, in essence, is a document of everything you have ever done. Using an exhaustive resume is like looking at a menu to decide what you are going to eat for dinner or what information you will be putting on your resume for the job application. You can read more about how to create an exhaustive resume here. […]

  2. […] The Single Most Important Tool to Building a Resume […]

Comments are closed.