How to Start Writing a Dynamic Job Search Document
Getting your resume ready for a job search can be a daunting task. You will wonder about the ideal length of a resume, whether to use a functional resume approach or a chronological approach. If you’re writing an executive resume and bio, should your resume be identical to your LinkedIn profile?
Valid questions, but to get started you have other work to do. The first step is that you need to gather the content of your executive resume. After years on the job, or possibly after several jobs without creating a new resume, what’s required is an effective process of organizing the content for your eventual resume.
You’ve probably heard of those people who, facing April 15 every year, arrive at the accountant’s office with a shoebox overflowing with a year’s worth of receipts. You may even be one of them. Accountants don’t come cheap, so the shoebox may not be the best approach to taxes, but a similar method can provide a starting point for your resume, especially if you’re a new graduate or if you are writing a career change resume and don’t have a long history in the field you’re targeting.
Start with everything, including coursework, jobs, volunteering, internships, extracurricular activities, continuing education, hobbies, and interests. There are a lot of resume-worthy skills and accomplishments you can pull from here.
- If you took courses in the field you’re aiming for, list them individually. If there was a relevant project or presentation, make note of it. If you did especially well in courses that are really relevant, make note of your grades. We’re looking for all the things that stand out. It doesn’t have to be a Nobel Prize. If you were a research assistant to a professor, include that in your list.
- For all those activities, consider the skills you had to employ and the results you reached. Perhaps you gave a presentation that was very well received. It was that presentation that led to your research assistantship. That’s worthy of note.
- List your special skills, including fluency in a foreign language and competence in any area of technology. Make note of any certifications you’ve earned.
- For anything even vaguely resembling a job, list your responsibilities in detail. Make special note of accomplishments and results. Apply those same criteria to volunteer work and to extracurricular activities. What did you do? What skills did you use? What results did you obtain? What did you accomplish?
- For those just starting out, those job-like activities don’t have to be in your chosen field and they don’t have to be innately impressive. If you waited tables twice a week, you put some skills into play. Perhaps the skills were organizational. Perhaps you developed customer service skills. Maybe your job helped pay for your schooling. You probably learned to juggle competing demands on your time and energy.
In other words, this is the all-inclusive list. The idea is to fill your shoebox to overflowing with lists of skills, responsibilities, and accomplishments, with all the things you did and all the things you learned. Resume samples will show that a wide variety of skills and experiences can help you stand out in the job search.
You may be surprised at some of the things your inventory reveals. You may be reminded of skills you’d forgotten you had, or you may uncover skills that weren’t on your radar—simply because you took them for granted since you must have had those skills to perform in a given setting.
What we have so far is not, of course, a resume. It’s not even a rough draft. Much of what you’ve included will end up on the cutting-room floor once you begin to tailor your efforts to specific job descriptions, but you’re not editing yet.
The Best Professional Resume Writing Services Will Help Organize Your Shoebox
Shimmering Careers provides Bay Area career coaching, resume writing, and job search strategy help to a wide range of professions including resume writing for sales professionals, finance executives, engineers & scientists, and much more. Contact our offices today to get started toward a brighter future with a resume that will make you shine and the strategy to find the career you want and deserve.