Writing a resume can make you feel vulnerable. It’s very personal to talk about yourself, it’s hard to know what will catch the reader’s attention, and it feels like so much is hinging on it. The reality is that a resume is just one piece of a larger process- whether that sets your mind at ease or feels overwhelming.
Yes, there is background work to do. But there is also a step by step process. I call it the Career Clarity approach because it requires more than just tactical solutions. Writing a good resume, like every step in career management, requires clarity of vision and the confidence to move forward.
The mental shift: New clients often want to send me their resume. It does give me a sense of their background, but it is not (as I think they hope) the final document they will send to potential employers. That’s because without a target, a resume is just a list of jobs. If you want a resume to pop, you must know the job you are targeting and what contribution you can make in that job. From there, you can prioritize work experience to tell a story.
The simple process – Once you have a target, including what you think you can contribute in the job:
- Write a long laundry list of every job you’ve had and its responsibilities. Include things like: dress on trend (for a retail job) or attend industry conferences (for a job where innovation is important). This scratch list can take several pages.
- Find a job description for your target job.
- Edit down the laundry list so that it uses the verbs and keywords from the target job description and prioritizes accomplishments that connect to the contribution you believe you can make in the target job.
A good resume is fairly short, one or two pages, and tells the story of where you want to go next. You don’t need a summary paragraph because if you do it well, your last two jobs should be the summary.
If you would like to have a conversation about your resume and the job hunt, simply click here to schedule a complimentary session with me.