Let's be honest. For most people, resume writing isn't synonymous with fun. On a sunny summer day, most of us would rather be out in the fresh air, spending time with our loved ones, playing in the park, or sitting in a dentist's chair having our molars drilled. Even in dreary weather, almost anything is better than spending hours trying to figure our how to cram years of professional experience onto one or two pages of text.
So why does this happen? Why is resume writing such a chore? Here are three simple explanations, plus six resume writing tips to make the process of learning how to write a resume a little easier. Follow these tips and your resume will stand out from the competition.
Resumes Put Our Accomplishments Under a Spotlight
When we place our careers under the microscope, or we're forced to compare them with those of other jobseekers, they don't always look as impressive or measure up as well as we hope. Sometimes all the work and struggle we've invested in our jobs hardly seems worth the outcome.
But the feelings of discouragement and inadequacy are usually temporary. At the end of the day, most of us genuinely like what we do. That's why we keep doing it. And that's why we work so hard to get back on the carousel when we fall off.
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Writing a Resume Can Feel High Stakes
It can feel like if you make one resume mistake, your chances of landing a job will disappear. One of my top resume writing tips: a single typo or formatting error can get you tossed out of the running. It may feel like you'll never find another open position as perfect as this one. Even if you do, what will happen if you're rejected a second time? Or a third time?
Here's what will happen: Your life will go on. You'll keep applying, reaching out, and pursuing opportunities until you find one that works for you. It doesn't make it any easier. But, in a few years, this job search adventure will be part of the distant past. For now, just take things one step at a time.
Resume Writing Can Be Tedious
The process of drafting, formatting and actually writing a resume can be stressful and boring. This is especially true when it's your own resume. Have you ever noticed that it's easier to help someone else write their resume than to create yours?
But, look on the bright side. Your resume is one to two pages long and when it's finished, it will help you to find the job that will launch the next awesome chapter of your life. In other words, another of the resume writing tips to keep in mind is to stick with it. Your hard work will be worth it in the end.
6 Resume Writing Tips to Make Life Easier
Now that we agree on how painful writing a resume can be for everyone, let's focus on the work. Here are a few resume writing tips you can follow to make the resume writing process a little easier.
- Start now. The time to start writing your resume is now. Putting it off won't make things any easier. And, the last thing you want is to be rushed to complete a resume in just a few hours – when you find a job you want to apply for. Start now, but don't expect to finish in one day. Plan to approach your resume in bite size pieces over a one to two week period. And, remember – your resume doesn't need to be perfect the very first time. You will have an opportunity to make it better in the future.
- Gather your materials in advance. Before you begin the writing process, get all the information you need and bring it to your desk. Compile a list of all of the places you worked, and the dates you were at each job. Look up your college degree name on your diploma. Gather all the pieces that will help you to write your resume.
- Be proud of all you've done and how far you've come. Your accomplishments are amazing! And so are you. Now that you have the framework of your resume, you can write about your accomplishments. Share some about your job responsibilities, and then also share about your successes. If possible, quantify your experience with numbers. How much money did you help the company to save? How many customers did you support? How large was your operating budget? How many people did you manage? By how much did you beat your target goals? The more you can share about what you accomplished, the easier it will be for an outsider to understand your experience.
- Look forward to the future. This resume will take you to your next job. This will mean a new set of challenges and a new group of coworkers you haven't met yet. Review job postings you're interested in. Hone in on the particular skills and experience the company is looking for. If you have those skills, be sure they're highlighted on your resume.
- Don't forget the soft skills. Soft skills, those hard to measure qualities that make people great at their jobs, are highly sought-after by employers. While your resume should flaunt your technical skills, don't forget to mention in-demand qualities like strong communication skills and conflict resolution, which are equally important in today's workforce.
- Get help. You don't have to tackle this chore by yourself (and frankly, you shouldn't). You have mentors, professional contacts, former coworkers, and fellow jobseekers all around you who can offer recommendations and advice. Just remember: there's no one way to write a resume. Each person you speak with will give you different advice. You have to decide what works the best for you.