When I was growing up, my father was a plumbing contractor and I had the great experience of working with him weekends and summers from my early teens until I graduated from college.
The test we used to determine whether or not we had correctly completed a complicated installation was whether or not we had any left over parts. (We usually read the instructions as we were driving away from the job.) Please know that a lot of mechanics use the same technique when they work on your car. Left over parts are a type of profit if you can use them for something else. (Hopefully, none of them are critical to the functioning of whatever they were left over from.)
To those of us who are a little long in the tooth with respect to the number of years in our career, we experience much the same syndrome when we redo our resumes for our latest job. If we accept the fact that there is greatest interest in that which we have done in the last ten years or so, what exactly are we to do with those “left over” accomplishments from our earlier jobs that we need to eliminate to keep it down to 2-3 pages?
Furthermore, as we try to put our resume into English, or perhaps more properly into “layman’s terms” and strip out the jargon common to our industry, what should we do with that left over information?
Well friends, we live in an electronic world. Not only can you have several different versions of your resume, you can also have a “storage cabinet” filled with all of your left over parts. As an accountant, it is hard for me to throw anything away. I am always afraid that when I do, I will need it at some point. How wonderful it is that storing these extra parts doesn’t take up any noticeable room these days, because I’m sure if they did my wife would get after me to “clean up my room.”
Of course, some of these very useful left over parts can also come as a result of your writing your resume. That initial burst of energy that you had at the beginning of your process may have yielded a treasure trove of valuable accomplishments that you felt were not as important as others in your final opus. (Gosh, I hope you didn’t throw them away.)
These stray factoids about what you have done can be extremely useful for job postings that call for them. The trick is to have them in exactly the same format as your primary resume so that when you paste them in and/or swap them out there will be no noticeable change in either the format from a typographical standpoint or from a language one.
In the “bad old days” you had to have your resume printed professionally and you know the reluctance of this old accountant to throw out paper produced at great expense. Strictly “first in, first out” in my book. In today’s world with everything electronic, there is no cost and I hope you always keep your printed inventories low. Only printing enough for the day is what I recommend. In the case of your electronic opus, there is no need to make multiple copies of these files. (But, I’m sure you know that.)
So, take out 5 or more pages of electronic paper and write to your heart’s content. Cover any aspect of your working life and work and rework each accomplishment until it sings on key and is in tune with the rest of the choir.
You will then find that modifying your resume for a specific job becomes duck soup. And as you know, duck soup is delicious.