Whether you’ve just lost your job or you’re desperate to get out of the job you’re in, your first instinct is to act fast. You want to send out as many resumes as possible – right now!
But wait. Now isn’t the time to act haphazardly. If you don’t take time to think through your resume, you risk creating something that misses the mark. In fact, acting impulsively now actually could result in setbacks later.
Instead, set the groundwork to present yourself as a well-prepared candidate.
What Should You Do Before Sending Out Your Resume?
Know Where You’re Going
First things first. What kind of job are you looking for? Do you like what you do – you just want to do it someplace else? Or are you considering a career change?
You need some idea of where you want to go, so you can write a resume that will help you get there. The job you’re after will dictate not only the style and format of your resume but the words you use to describe yourself.
Gather Your Information
Your resume is a record of your work experience, accomplishments, education and training. Its content and length depend on how long you’ve been in the workforce and how many jobs you’ve held. While experts recommend limiting your work history to the past 10-15 years, that still could be a lot of history.
Before you sit down to write or update your resume, do yourself a favor and have all the information at hand. That includes names of past employers, the position you held, start and end dates, your job duties, and accomplishments. Don’t forget to include any relevant training or volunteer work.
“Focused and accurate information ensures your resume has the needed details to exhibit your skills, expertise, education and experience and impress the reader to show you as a qualified candidate,” notes Indeed.
Line Up Your References
You don’t list references on your resume, but you will eventually be asked to provide them. So, while you’re information-gathering, write down the names and contact information of your professional and personal “cheerleaders.” You’ll be glad to have them neatly recorded in a document you can email when requested.
Follow the Format
There is no end to the number of resume templates available online, through software programs like Microsoft Word and resume writing services. Some industries have resume standards, so you may have to do a little research before settling on the best resume format for your needs.
Whichever resume format you choose, some basics do apply.
- Create a neat resume with proper margins.
- Use a simple font that’s easy to read. Some Applicant Tracking Systems can’t read italics or fancy fonts, notes Top Resume.
- Make sure there are no spelling or grammar errors. Have someone else proofread your resume, just to make sure!
- Don’t forget your contact information, so a potential employer knows how to get in touch for an interview! You can leave off your street address, but you’ll want to include your name, email, cell phone, and links to LinkedIn and other professional profiles.
Maximize Your Chances
Once you’ve set the format and outlined the basic information, optimize your resume by incorporating keywords and phrases used in the job posting.
Monster recommends using numbers to quantify your achievements. “If you had a choice between a candidate who ‘developed sales leads’ and one who ‘developed 20 new sales leads a week,’ wouldn’t you pick the latter?”
To limit agism, don’t list graduation dates or mention out-of-date technology.
Like it or not, you will be judged by your resume. Take the time to make sure it’s the best representation of your professional self for the best shot at landing an interview.
Ready to Start Applying To a New Job?
For expert help with your job search, contact Pro Resources Staffing Services.