By Marjorie Kavanagh, Owner & President of Panoramic Resumes, LLC
Jump Start Your Resume
For some people, writing a resume is dreaded more than paying taxes! Where to start? How do you turn a blank piece of paper into a document that will help you get a job? Here are some tips for getting started and reaching the finish line:
It can take upwards of 15+ hours to write a great resume. Don’t expect to get it all done in one sitting. Rather, plan for several two- to three-hour writing/research sessions.
Write with fluency without editing until you are done, because stopping to make revisions can inhibit the creative process. Refine formatting once all copy is finalized.
Remember, you are writing for an audience of prospective employers. Conduct research to discover what employers are seeking in their job descriptions. Identify keywords and experience/skill requirements and list the most common ones. Incorporate this information in your resume to match your expertise, accomplishments, and overall value to employers.
What Have Others Said About You?:
There’s no better credible way to tell others how great you are than to demonstrate what people have said about you. Review performance appraisals, thank you letters, testimonials, letters of reference, and LinkedIn recommendations to glean insights.
Everyone has accomplishments; it’s just hard to distinguish the thought of “It’s my job and what I do” from “I bring value and achieve things that perhaps others do not.” Think in terms of “How did I go above and beyond?” Did you…
- Increase Revenue?
- Reduce Risk?
- Exceed Goals?
- Prevent Loss?
- Secure New Clients?
- Improve a Process?
- Improve Work Process?
- Prevent Problems?
- Correct a Problem?
- Improve Customer Relationships?
Try to Answer These Questions:
How would my managers describe my value to them and the organization? How would my customers (internal and/or external) describe me? I am the “go to” person for…what? Also look at your job description to ask yourself how you have excelled in each area described. Provide context in the way of percentages, financial significance, or other metrics to support accomplishments.
Tell Your Story:
Tell your personal career story, not one of anyone else who does your job. I recently worked with two military professionals whose careers mirrored one another. They enlisted, trained, and were assigned and deployed together, and today have similar jobs and ranks. However, their resumes tell individual stories of strengths, value, and accomplishments directed to the different fields they’re now exploring.
Not Ready to Write Your Resume Yet?
Start a file of everything and anything that will help you write a resume, whether as above in what people are saying about you or a specific work product that will remind you of your accomplishments. Every word counts. Each one should be part of a meaningful and influential story to help employers decide you should be their next employee.