Before you begin writing your resume, take some time for introspection and determine why you are writing this in the first place. Where are you heading, what is the plan, what is the best job for you, who will read the resume, how will you get an interview from it?
An effective resume will sell yourself and do your skills and experience justice. It will magnify you best sides and should tell the reader to take action immediately. I will assume that you already have a job in mind and that your objective is to get that interview request.
When you have established your purpose, you can now lay out the content of your resume around it and keep it focused from the employer’s point of view. It’s critical that you have this purpose nailed down so your document is focused and clear.
List your Achievements
Step two is to break out a big notebook and list everything you have achieved in your life. This list can be very detailed and should cover every little accomplishment. Not only will you feel good from seeing the results, you will have a great selection of achievements to pick and choose from for your resume.
You can categorize your list by separate listings for education, work experience, community and charity involvement, notable achievements and skills. Don’t be shy now, put down every little part time job, every foreign language interaction and even that half day seminar you did ten years ago.
List your Unique Selling Points
Whatever job you are thinking about applying for, we can assume there will be competition. In the current economic climate, the competition will be very good as there have been all too many layoffs in all industries recently.
What you can do is to think about what makes you better or different to the other candidates. Keep the notebook out and start thinking about your unique selling points, or USPs. Glancing at your achievements list, there should be a few ones standing out that you are proud of. You should be able to squeeze out about 20 of these. If you struggle, ask your friends, family and co-workers.
Research the position and the company
That position you are applying for, what do you actually know about it? You have seen a job specification I would hope. Have you checked out the company website, researched their employees on LinkedIn and done your best to understand their corporate culture? A job on paper can be very different to reality and you will want your new resume to reflect the real need that the employer has. Do what you can to find out as much background information as possible, anything to make sure you sell the benefit of hiring you to the reader.
Research the process
Do you know who will screen your resume? Will it even be a person or could it be rejected by a computer? If there is no name on the job description, it’s safe to assume that HR will be the first port of call. In case you see the hiring manager’s name and email, you can personalize your document and sell to this person’s needs direct. Ways to finding out the process would be to speak to the company, its employees and recruitment partners. Knowing the process will give you a slight head start and you will be in control of the event.
So now you know why you are writing the resume, you have an idea of what you want to include and what USPs will seal the deal. You have researched the company and the people behind it to better customize your resume. The next step will be to begin writing and to weave all the components together.
Thoughts or ideas on the preparation side of resume writing?