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Streamline Resume Writing with a Principal Resume

Unsplash stock image of man reading papersUpdate your resume as you learn new skills and gain experience


We recently discussed some of the top tips for crafting your resume. But what happens when you need to apply for lots of jobs - and you need to tailor your resume to each application?! Enter the Principal Resume (my term) -  a long form document that contains all of your work and education history. From this Principal Resume, you’ll be able to quickly grab the information most relevant to your current application and simply plug and play on each resume.

So, how does this work? Initially, this will take a bit of an investment of your time - but it will pay off later when you’re applying for jobs. Start a document with some headers such as" Summary,Iron and earth trainee working at a desk Education, Work Experience, Leadership Experience, Volunteer Experience, Skills, Projects, Hobbies (or Extracurriculars) etc. For each of these headers, you will write out all of your experience, whether it is relevant to your current field or not. Ideally, write this in a format that you would use in a final resume.

Ensure that your descriptions of the activities within each field use strong, active verbs to demonstrate your accomplishments. For example: try, “Increased customer satisfaction by 10% by implementing protocol changes based on customer feedback,” not, “Tasked with improving customer satisfaction.” Keep sentences short but specific.

Once you have this long form document created, you’ll need to continue to update it as you learn new skills and gain additional experience. The power in this document is that it gives you a single repository of experience that you can use to craft each tailored resume in your job hunt.

Next step is to pick and choose the right pieces for your current job application. Take the resume template we discussed in the previous post , combined with the deconstructed job posting and determine which skills and experience to highlight. Keep in mind that you’ll always want to list undergraduate or graduate education (maybe not first, if they are not directly linked to the role of interest). Typically, you’ll want to list your experience in chronological or reverse chronological order and avoid gaps in time. If you’re a parent or caregiver who stepped away from your career for a bit, be creative in how you convey this on your resume - but don’t simply skip over that time period.

In order to keep your resume within a single page (or two if you have 10+ years of experience), you’ll need to only describe the relevant roles, where the skills you describe match those desired in the job description. For example: you’re applying for a Research and Development (R&D) role at a company working in renewable energy. You have 5 years of experience at XYZ Company, the first two years working in manufacturing support, followed by 2 years of R&D and a year as a project manager. In your brief description of your time at XYZ Company, you will want to focus on the accomplishments and skills developed working in R&D, as those would best match the job. If you have room, you will also want to touch on the other roles - but when space is limited, stick to what is most relevant.

Perhaps the next job you apply for is in a solar panel manufacturing support role. In that case, you’ll swap out the R&D descriptions used previously for XYZ Company, and focus on your skills and experience supporting manufacturing. Because you have all of these descriptions pre-written in your Principal Resume, swapping out for the most relevant description is fast and easy.

Note: always read back through your descriptions to ensure the tense and tone are matched and consistent throughout your resume. Also check that your fonts are appropriate - do not use more than 1-2 font types, or 2-3 font sizes throughout your resume.

And visit our Climate Career Portal to find a listing of jobs in the renewable energy sector and more tools to help you in developing a renewable future for you and for the planet. 
For more information about Iron & Earth’s training opportunities in clean energy contact us at [email protected] or 778-771-0852.

Post by freelance writer Anna Kobb


This blog is funded in part by the Government of Canada's Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program.

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Iron & Earth is committed to partnering with Indigenous workers to empower their communities to become self-sufficient in training programs, clean energy transition projects, and employment opportunities to combat environmental racism. It falls to all of us to continue the work of healing and reconciliation in our communities and our organizations. Our relationship with the land and the people who live here shapes who we are. It is in the spirit of reconciliation and honouring the past that we recognize treaties and agreements wherever they are and wherever we work.

We also acknowledge all peoples who live, work, and play on this land, and who honour and celebrate this territory.
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We look forward to building a path to lead us to a better relationship with Indigenous nations and the environment around us based on peace, friendship, and respect.