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After You’ve Written Your Resume

April 1, 2009

Writing your resume is only about 10% of the process of preparing your resume for job submissions.

Like many people in this economic crisis; I know a lot of people who are looking for their next job. I recently went through this process (this summer) and have been offering help where I can… more specifically on editing, reviewing and critiquing friends resumes.

After reviewing several so far, as well as revamping my own, I can say with complete confidence that you need to do more than just write a resume. As the first impression of  – YOU the employee – your resume needs to be your masterpiece.

Here are some suggestions on where to go after your resume is written:

  • Write Another Resume – Write a completely separate resume. This practice will get you to rethink your wording and which  skill sets/accomplishments are important.
  • Compare Both Resume’s – Print both files and compare. You didn’t word everything identical, did you? You should now combine the two and pull out the best of both.
  • Edit For Content – Not everything you did at your last position will need to be on your resume. Place only relevant work experience for the job that you are applying for*.
    • When applying for a management position it may not be necessary (or helpful) to say your last job involved filing trade magazines.
  • Edit For Spelling/Grammar – Now that you have the content sorted out, see if it is all spelled correctly. Double-checking your grammar can mean their getting what they’re looking for.
  • Check For Continuity – Are all your headlines the same size? Are all your achievements written in past tense? Does the sum of your experience add up to your objective? Do all bullet points contain sentences, or phrases? Overlooking the smallest details can confuse a potential employer and lead them to the next resume on their desk.
  • Format – This may not sound important, but the formatting of your resume can be a deal breaker. Most writers know that most readers don’t read. By formatting a resume to highlight the key takeaways of your resume, you are a step ahead of just having a resume.
    • Keep your formatting simple. Place your most important achievement for each position first; then follow in order of importance. Create categories so employers know what they are reading. An employer is only going to skim your resume at first.
  • Fit On 1 Page – You may think that you have an impressive background; but more than likely a hiring manager does not need more than one page of information to form an opinion. Cut information and play with formatting to fit your resume onto one page.
    • If you must lose any vital information, it is important to remember that you can cover whats missing in a cover letter.
  • Have Someone Else Edit – This is an important step. First, it gives you a chance to walk away from your resume and change your mindset. Second, it allows you to get a second opinion on your wording and context.
  • Review And Edit With Suggestions – Take your peers opinions seriously. They have an outside vantage point and are your best sanity check.

This is just a short checklist, if anyone else has any to add, let me know. I am willing to amend the post.

*Note: You should be customizing your resume for each position you apply for.
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