June 23, 2011

Resume Process

The process of writing your resume is as important as the resume itself. As you decide how to present yourself on your resume, you are also deciding what you want to talk about in an interview. Your resume shows the employer what is unique about you.

Your resume is more than a paper you write once. It is a process of discovering what you can do for the prospective employer. The design, fonts, and paper (if you are still using paper) should be simple, adaptable, and specific. Let yourself shine rather than having a showy design.

The purpose of your resume is to get an interview. It needs to be truthful and honest, but you only need to share the education, skills, and experience that are relevant to the job. As I review resumes for job seekers, I often see a list of excellent skills at the bottom of the resume and experience that doesn't relate to the job. If you are short on skills that relate to the job you want, consider a Functional Resume.

Employers often prefer a Chronological Resume with continuous experience related to the job. But for career changers or those with interruptions in their work history, a Functional Resume would better represent their skills. You can download these simple resume templates in Microsoft Word and type over the information to develop a simple resume format that you can adapt for emails, online, and printed resumes. Use as little formatting as possible and avoid bullets when submitting your resume online.

Start with a master resume that lists all of your work history and dates of employment. Then when you find a job you want to apply for, you can adapt your resume. Look for skills and experience you have that matches the preferences and requirement for the job. You will be forced to look closely at the job description and scrutinize your skills. When you are finished with your resume you will be that much closer to being prepared for the interview.

When you finish your resume, have it reviewed by a career professional. A career coach or counselor can tell you if you have your highest level of skills at the top of your resume and results oriented experience. Keep it simple, concise, relevant, and powerful. Use a word list and thesaurus to find action words for your resume. Avoid overused words that are vague and trite. Be consistent in your spacing and punctuation, use correct spelling and grammar, and get the readers attention in 5-10 seconds. Your resume needs to grab the employers attention, especially when you have not been introduced formally or informally. A resume is still necessary, but less important as an attention grabber if it is a small company or you know the person reading it.

Executives and professionals in specialty occupations may need to hire a professional resume writer to advise, format, and review their resumes. Professional managers and executives are often hired from within the company, although experienced professionals may be brought into the company with fresh ideas.

Understanding what makes you unique, how to get the prospective employers attention, and how to network are skills every job seeker needs. Go to a workshop, class or career coach for help with your resume. Ask a friend or relative to check your resume for errors and inconsistencies. You are not alone in your job search.