Part one of Resume Mastermind’s How to Write a Resume Series
Here at Resume Mastermind, we want to be the #1 authority on resume writing. Although we’re in the business of writing resumes for our clients, we also like to think of ourselves as coaches as we spend a lot of time educating people on what it takes to create a resume that opens doors to bigger and better opportunities. This is Part One of a six-part series on how to write a resume that is targeted, well-designed, and powerful to consistently win interviews.
There is no one way to write a resume, and no two resumes look exactly alike (or they shouldn’t, anyway). But we firmly believe that there are basic principles that can be applied across the board, so we want to share with you our philosophy and general methodologies.
Before You Start Writing
One of the biggest mistakes that many people when writing their own resume is that they begin writing before they have a well-prepared plan in place. This usually results in the resume lacking a clear focus or direction and makes the writing process much more cumbersome than it needs to be. Before you even start writing, here is a list of things to consider that will make the process much smoother.
- Who is the audience? The first thing you want to ask yourself is “Who is the person that’s going to be reading this thing?” Is it a hiring manager? A recruiter? A colleague? Throughout the writing process, you should put yourself into the mindset of what somebody else will see when looking at your resume.
- What will the target audience be looking for? A great resume will bridge the gap between what you have done and what you are seeking to do in your next role. The hiring manager will want to see that you have the capacity to jump into the new opening and add immediate value, so your content strategy should be tailored accordingly.
- How will the resume be structured? Writing a resume is much easier when you have a fundamental understanding of what the finished product will look like. Consider how long the resume should be and what main sections will be included. Creating a basic template that you can fill in along the way will save you a lot of time and agony.
- What will make the resume stand out? If you start writing your resume with the idea of creating something that is “good enough”, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Each job opening solicits hundreds, if not thousands, of resume submissions, so you need to think about what you can do to make your resume set you apart from the pack.
- Is this really something you should be doing yourself? Do you really have the time, writing capacity, and understanding of the current job market to give your resume the necessary effort it deserves? For example, I recently wrote a resume for a gentleman who charges $150 an hour to his consulting clients. He spent the better part of two full days working on his resume and would have saved himself hundreds in lost revenue had he hired a company that specializes in writing resumes for clients in his industry. Every day, we hire accountants to do our taxes and auto technicians to change our oil because it’s not worth the headaches to do those things ourselves. Hiring a professional resume review service such as Resume Mastermind may make a lot of sense.
Right now, you may not have the answers to all of those questions, and that’s okay. In the next parts of the How to Write a Resume series, we’ll shed light on how, specifically, you can answer these questions and put a pre-game plan in place. The major takeaway should be that there are things that need to be carefully considered before diving into the writing part of the project.
The Primary Purpose of the Resume
The resume is meant to do one thing – get you an interview. It doesn’t need to be a comprehensive summary of your life story or a factual chronological history of your work experience. The resume should convince the reader that you have the background, skills, and intangibles to be successful in this new position or career.
Where to Go from Here
I recommend taking a day or two to think about what it is you really want to do with your career. Narrow it down as specific as possible. For example, saying that you “want to work in the tech industry” isn’t going to cut it. However, deciding that you “want to leverage your software development experience and passion for mobile technology into a position with a start-up mobile app company” gives you a much clearer direction for your project.
Stay on the look-out for Part Two of our How to Write a Resume Series where we go in-depth about crafting an opening profile or summary of qualifications.