It’s the document that’s most important and lasting throughout your professional life. Whether you are a Gen X’er or Baby Boomer who has avoided updating your resume for years and years, or you’re a Gen Y’er creating one for the first time, it can be challenging to build a resume. Depending on your culture, gender, or even the environment you learned the skills you will be using in that next job, you may have learned that bragging about yourself should be avoided at all costs. So, how can you make this important piece of the career search process reflect what you will bring to the job without having stress?
It is all about you
This is the challenge for middle children in families or girls growing up in households with male siblings – you didn’t get all of the attention that the eldest child or the older brother did. Family dinners may have been focused on what your siblings did during their day, with a few brief moments of consideration on how you spent your eight hours away from the house. Holidays may be consumed with the highlights of your sibling’s great accomplishments, while you sit quietly wondering if anyone will ask you about what you’ve been doing over the past months.
The good news is that your resume is the place to share your skills and experience with the working world. No one is better suited to write about you and your experiences and background than you are. Think about the activities you have done that show your skills the employer is looking for. Focus on what happened when you applied your skills and positively impacted a situation. If you don’t explain how your skills are valuable to the employer, they won’t be able to accurately determine how you can help their organization.
Usually the people who stress over building a resume are the ones who wait until the last minute. Get into a habit of updating your resume every thirty days. It’s a good way to remind yourself what you have achieved and also the best way to keep the document current in case a position comes along out of the blue.
Take your time
When you start to build your resume, try to break it down into categories such as education, work experience, and community/volunteer experience. Under each heading, list the basic information that an employer will want to know. Depending on how focused you can be, work on one section at a time and include details about that particular company or organization. Building your resume over a period of time instead of a marathon session could actually be a better strategy to be sure you include all of the most important information.
If you just don’t think you want to build a resume from scratch, there are resources you could consider. A resume template isn’t necessarily going to be the right option for everyone, but for some people that could be a place to start. Once you have written a draft, find someone in your field who can give you credible feedback on the format and content. More tenured workers could consider enlisting a resume writer for a fully revamped version. If you are considering transition to a new field, this may be the best way to alleviate the stress of building your resume.
- It’s midnight and I’m building a resume, where do I start? (helpyourcareer.org)
- Do You Have the Job You Really Want? (money.usnews.com)