If you have a specific job title you’re pursuing, and you know you’ll be writing many different resumes, then you might want to consider writing a general resume first. A general resume, sometimes also called a generic resume, is a resume that you build using a resume builder as a stepping-stone to the resume that you’ll actually submit to a hiring manager. It features your professional experience and targets a specific career, like a graphic designer or engineering resume. Once you’ve written it, you can go back and personalize it for each job application you turn in.
Every time you apply for a new job, you need to rewrite portions of the resume to suit the new job; that’s the point of a general resume. These are the elements you’ll typically update.
Updating these components of the resume not only makes your resume look personalized, but also can help you get past an applicant tracking system (ATS). That makes it more likely that a hiring manager will actually see your resume and be able to respond.
Your first step needs to be choosing a resume format. The chronological resume format is the most common, focusing largely on work experience. The functional resume format, is beneficial to job seekers who don’t have a lot of work experience. Either way, you will still include the following resume sections on any professional resume.
This is technically part of the resume design. It includes your full name and contact information, including your phone number, location, email address and professional job networking profile links, such as your LinkedIn profile.
Next is the resume summary or resume objective. This is a two or three sentence paragraph that generally summarizes your work experience and skills. It’s intended to give a recruiter a basic snapshot of your experience and what sets you apart from other job seekers. The resume objective focuses less on work experience but instead includes a sentence indicating your career objective and goals.
Your skills section will be highly personalized to your industry and your job title. For example, healthcare and software engineering will have vastly different skills. It’s important that you include both soft skills and hard skills in this section. This section will typically take the form of bullet points and you can source specific skills from the job description.
In your experience section, you’ll list up to ten years of experience. You can include both part-time and full-time experience. This section’s format will typically be impacted by your resume format. You’ll need to do more resume writing here if you’re using the chronological format, which relies more heavily on it. Always list your work experience in reverse-chronological order. This puts the most recent and most relevant experience first.
Your education section may include anything from a high school diploma to a bachelor’s degree and beyond. Look at resume samples from your industry to learn more about what type of education people are typically included in your industry. This way, you’ll be able to list the resume components that make sense for you.
A general resume can be incredibly helpful for many people because it provides you an effective resume base. With a general resume, you’re able to get down your work history, best skills and overall objectives into a single resume. From there, you can target your resume to each job application, making it easier to write the best resume for every single application. If you’re planning to apply for a number of different jobs, then a general resume is a great first step.
You should update your general resume at least once every two to three years. If you haven’t updated your resume in two or three years, then it’s time to update your general resume prior to your next job search. It’s suggested that you continually update your resume throughout your career, especially when you get a new certification, you start or finish a new educational project and any time you begin a new job. While you are updating, consider refreshing your resume format, too.
While many people use their general resume to pass out to recruiters and hiring managers at a job expo, it’s still better to create an industry specific resume. You can use resume examples to see what others are saying on their resumes in your field. A general resume typically won’t give enough personalized information about you to pass out at an expo. In addition, consider creating business cards that include links to your job networking profiles.