Create and Maintain a ‘Living Résumé’ to Make Life Easier

Career Blog

Published: January 12, 2022 by Jillian Collins

The purpose of your résumé is to open a door. Writing a résumé is a process that shouldn’t have to be done over and over. You just need your résumé to be tailored to fit the position, providing you have the skills and ability to perform in the position. A trick to streamline the résumé part of a job application is to create a “living résumé” – a one-stop-doc that you add and record all information you included in your résumé.

Your Résumé and Your “Living Résumé”

As experience and accomplishments evolve and grow, you may find the pace a bit difficult to quickly recall. A start from scratch mentality is common! Think of the time it takes to write one tailored résumé to apply for a prestigious and desired position. And then another. And another.

Having a living record of your résumé makes things a lot easier. A “living résumé” can be considered the base material that you will use when it comes to crafting a specific résumé. This type of “living document” (one that you go back to when jotting down ideas or notes) is beneficial beyond saving time.

It’s Alive!

Creating your “living résumé” starts with résumé basics, such as prior experience, skills, projects, and education. To keep your “living résumé” alive, you want to constantly record, add, and make notes that relate to résumé-relevant information. Managing a “living résumé” is reflecting on your development in personal and professional career preferences.

You add and categorize on a large scale with your “living résumé.” This big picture allows you to see your skills, projects, and positions held – and widen or narrow them as you preserve a record of prior information.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • What I have done. Your résumé-mindset is “what have I done to prove I can do this job?” Your “living résumé” is like a sounding board that proves you’ve done – and are doing – all sorts of things with content in context, in your words. When you create and add to your “living résumé,” you see you’ve done a lot more than you’d think! Generate future résumés by extracting and restructuring this abundance of material.
  • It’s up to you – nothing is too small, large, or insignificant for a “living résumé.” If you think about all of the job posts you’ve seen, chances are there is a lot of information. The idea of a “living résumé” is where you put all of your information that can fit the themes of those job posts. You can put a lot of details in a “living résumé,” with the freedom to elaborate in your own words what you think is important. Your skills and strengths will grow. It’s wise to track experience with tools you’ve encountered in specific situations, used, and why.
  • Remember to tailor to fit. Use your “living résumé” as the source. You have all of the information on you in one place, in ready-to-use résumé friendly format. Keep your “living résumé” alive, but use the content from it to create a final, tailored, and polished professional résumé.

Simply Submit

When you find a position to submit a professional résumé to, remember that you are shaping the elements that come from your “living résumé” that fit into the job description posted. When you are applying, just pull the relevant and most fitting elements to put in a traditional résumé format.

A “living résumé” is so flexible that even if you feel like adding a minor volunteer position from high school, you can. You’ll see some themes emerge from the smallest thing and see transferable traits and skills. If you know how to do something, or have done it, add it to your “living résumé!”

A wonderful career development resource is the SJSU Career Services for Graduate Students! Reach out to Carrie McKnight, the SJSU graduate school career counselor, for any and all assistance to help you get one step closer to your career goals!

Quick Jot from Jillian

It takes me too much time to write a one-page résumé to submit. That’s why I started keeping a “living résumé.” For me, I would spend too much time on editing, worrying, and judging my own skills and experience explained. In my “living résumé,” I can elaborate and make comments that span pages.

I have added positions, skills, projects, and even notes that I return to for clarity or questions to ask myself. I use my “living résumé” to reduce my own self-doubt and increase the career opportunities to be confident about!

Career Opportunities

  • Media Library Associate. The Walt Disney Company (Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution). Burbank, CA. Apply on Disney Careers

  • Digital Media Producer. The American Library Association. Full-Time. Middletown, CT. Apply via SimplyHired

Mark Your Calendar!

Strategies For Job Searching and Job Landing hosted by Kim Dority

  • Date: Wednesday, January 19, 2022
  • Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (Pacific Time)
  • Location: Register here to attend this Zoom event

SLASC Presentation: Jada Jones, Federal Government Military Librarian

  • Date: Sunday, January 30, 2022
  • Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. (Pacific Time)
  • Location: Register here to attend this Zoom event


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