The first, and most critical, point for creating an effective resume is self-assessment. An accurate portrayal of your career interests can only be conveyed after identifying those skills, abilities, and values you want to find in your next job. The other half of resume preparation is a review of all the educational and occupational experiences you have had. Only when you have both of these elements solidly in mind and feel a focus towards your next position…begin writing your resume.
Understand the relative importance of a resume to your job search. A resume will not result in a job. Rather, it is a key marketing tool that will help you land an interview. It will be up to you to do the rest. We will cover more of that later in this guide.
If written well, a resume should generate enough interest to make an employer want to meet you. For those jobs in which written communication skills are essential, your resume and cover letter may be your most important marketing tools. Did you know that the first time an average employer reviews a resume, they spend less than 60 seconds on it? You must catch them in that time period and make them want to look at it again.
A resume is as important in creating a first impression with a potential employer as are over-the-phone and face-to-face contacts.
This needs to be the first step you take in looking for a job. When looking for a job, you are actually functioning as a salesperson, and the product is YOU. In order to be an effective Salesperson, you MUST be familiar with the product. You may think you know the product it is worth taking the time to do some self-evaluation. You may be surprised by how much more clearly you will see not only yourself, but also your image of the perfect job.
It is important to know what kind of person you are and which work environments are most suited to your own unique combination of skills, goals and areas of interest. Jobs that combine your best in these areas are the jobs in which you will have the best chance for success and where you will feel the strongest sense of job satisfaction.
Remember when you were a child and you wanted to be an astronaut or a firefighter or President? Nothing is set in stone; our dreams, goals and expectations tend to change as we grow and it is important to remain open to change. Put aside the expectations or successes of others. The fact that your parents worked successfully in private industry doesn’t mean that you would not be happier working for a government agency or a non-profit organization. Does the fact that your mother is a lawyer mean you have practice law as well?
To help ascertain which work environments and job types are best for you, it is worth taking the time to complete the following questionnaire. Find a quiet place where you can work uninterrupted. Don’t feel you have to complete this all at once. Work on it for a while and come back to it. Also, if you get stuck, brainstorm, or ask others for input.