Once you have a resume, it’s easy to update and adjust it as you progress in your career. But first you need a solid start. While writing your resume may seem like a breeze at first – after all, it’s all about you and what you’ve done – it can quickly become quite the project, especially if you have no idea where to even begin. Starting from scratch has its pros and cons; you’re starting with a blank slate, whether that is something you appreciate or dread.
Have no fear. Going into resume writing with a game plan can help you feel more organized and confident:
Spend some time looking at different resumes. Check out the styles, sections, and content. Figure out what format works best for your career, and what you find most visually appealing. Don’t be afraid to jot down notes about what you like and don’t like and then create your own template. After all, you don’t want your resume to look just like everyone else’s.
- Brain Dump
Now that you’ve seen what is out there, it’s time to focus on your own materials. Start writing down each job you’ve held and everything you accomplished. Think about projects you worked on, teams you were part of, improvements you helped make, and leadership roles you held. Try to find metrics to support your work, such as sales quotas achieved, the number of direct reports you had, or what percentage you improved efficiency. Don’t forget about volunteer experience too. Even if you’re not sure something is relevant, write it down anyway so you have as much to work with as possible.
Now that you have a lot of notes, organize them into logical sections. Keep information from each job together, put all of your education and professional development in one section, volunteer work goes together, and then anything that doesn’t have a place that you want to look at again. Highlight skills you deem most important so that you can incorporate these into your summary of qualifications and core competencies. Finally, start crafting your resume and plugging in these details.
Not everything you wrote down necessarily belongs. Once you have a rough draft, look for areas to slash unnecessary details, make bullet points more concise, or tweak wording to make it more compelling. Remember – your resume isn’t an autobiography rehashing everything you’ve ever done; it should highlight select achievements and focus on the past 10-15 years of work history.
Step back from your resume for a day or two and then come return and look at it again. Re-read to find any spelling or grammar errors you may have missed or areas that you can polish up. Ask a few others that you trust to read it as well and give their feedback. They may catch things you missed and consider different points as they aren’t as familiar with your career as you are. Once you’re happy with how it looks, remember to tailor it for each position for which you’re applying.
If writing is not your forte and you’re still at a loss for how to begin creating a resume, or you’re not satisfied with what you’ve come up with, it may be time to call in the professionals.Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community