Why You Need a Master Resume (and How to Create One)

######Your years in the military (or as a military spouse) have given you specific skills that make you a desirable commodity in the civilian workforce.

Your resume should showcase your strengths for a prospective employer in the most concise way. But before you can [target your resume for a specific role](https://recruitmilitary.com/job-seekers/resource/876-create-a-winning-resume-part-2), you may need to first build a **master resume.**

####What is a Master Resume?

A master resume is a comprehensive document that includes all of an individual's skills, experiences, achievements, education, certifications, and any other pertinent information related to their professional background.

It typically serves as a repository of all your career-related accomplishments and can be used as a reference when applying for various job opportunities. **A master resume is for YOUR EYES ONLY and will be significantly longer than a resume you would submit to an employer.**

When you are ready to apply to a job with with a targeted resume (one that is aimed at a certain role or industry), it is much easier to pull sections from your master resume, rather than starting from scratch each time.
####How to Build a Master Resume

The major sections of a master resume include: **Contact Information, Work & Military History, Skills, Education/Certifications/Training, and Volunteer Experience.**

While compiling your information, keep in mind that this will be used to build your targeted resume, so consider the future audience. Employers may not be familiar with certain military terms or job titles, so breaking it down to the basics is a must. In addition, **avoid acronyms and military-only terms** and always describe military-specific systems with plain language.

#####Contact Information

Consider this section your "business card" and provide multiple options for an employer to reach you. Include: Your Name, Phone Number, and Email Address.

Do not include rank, certifications, or titles after your name. This information will be added to other sections.

Make sure to use a professional email address, even if that means creating one specifically for your job search. An example of a professional email address is: **firstname.lastname@gmail.com**. Avoid emails with nicknames or phrases or ones with numbers that can indicate your birth year. For example, Lastname78@gmail.com could indicate you were born in 1978.

#####Work & Military History

Break your career timeline up into six-month blocks. Consider your role at the time and write down personal and professional milestones that took place during each period. You may want to use your military evaluations and awards to help with this timeline, but avoid simply transcribing them to your master resume. Instead, weave award bullet points into this section.

List the timeframe of each role using month and year, and add 3-5 bullets that describe your responsibilities. Use cause-and-effect statements for a strong impact. EX: “Accomplished [X] By Doing [Y] Which resulted in [Z]."


After listing your work and military history, determine the skills you acquired from your different positions and experience. Group your skills into relevant categories to make them easier to read and understand. Common categories include technical skills, soft skills, language proficiencies, and industry-specific skills.

Hard skills are technical abilities that are specific to the job, while soft skills are interpersonal qualities that are valuable in any role. Aim for a balance of both types of skills to showcase your versatility.


List all degrees, certifications, training, licenses, and credentials on your master resume. Include the month and year, degree or certification earned, and the name of the institution or school. Add hours of training to provide context for what it looks like. For example: X training, Y employer, Z hours, date(s).

Include military schools, but remember that the purpose is to show what you offer to potential employers, so while you should include applicable training and certifications, weapons and tactics training are not of interest to most civilian hiring authorities.

#####Volunteer Work

Discussing volunteer work on your master resume can be highly beneficial, as it demonstrates your commitment to community involvement, your ability to contribute to causes outside of your professional responsibilities, and can showcase valuable skills and experiences. It may also help bridge any apparent employment gaps on your resume.

As with the other sections, you will want to list the timeframe of your volunteer work by month and year, as well as the organization, and add your duties in 3-5 bullets.

####Finishing your Master Resume

After compiling your master resume you may better understand and appreciate the value you bring to a prospective employer. Remember, this document is for YOUR EYES ONLY and not the one you'll send to an employer.

Your master resume serves as a comprehensive repository of all your skills, experiences, and achievements, providing a solid foundation for crafting tailored and targeted resumes for specific job opportunities. By drawing upon the wealth of information stored in your master resume, you can effectively customize each application to align with the requirements and preferences of potential employers, increasing your chances of securing interviews and ultimately landing your desired job.

#####NEXT: See how to create your [*targeted* civilian resume](https://recruitmilitary.com/job-seekers/resource/876-create-a-winning-resume-part-2)