I’m frequently asked if I will help someone change (write, update or rewrite) his/her resume so they can jump-start their job search. I usually say “No, but I will help you think through and learn more about yourself so you can be more comfortable, confident and therefore more successful in your job search.”
I then suggest that before they change their resumes, people take some time (it doesn’t have to be months; maybe several hours to weeks–and you can still be out there networking, talking to people and gathering good information about the marketplace) to figure out and answer at least the following six questions
- What they want to start to do, stop doing, and continue doing.
- How and where they can make the biggest impact in their next job.
- Look back at the last 3-5 years and identify the skills they used most often.
- What is their leadership style? What are their professional strengths—for example, writing skills, “people skills,” organizational politics?
- What are their “non-negotiables” (e.g.. not relocating or commuting)?: I once had a client who took a job requiring that she drive her car. Problem was, she had taken public transportation to work for the last 15 years. Even though her resume made her a perfect fit, she left the job shortly after the first snow!
- What to watch out for. For example, if you are know far and wide as someone who enjoys being a lone ranger, how might that play out in a new role or organization? What if the role is in a consensus building department?
Crystallizing your thoughts and gaining clarity on what you want out of a job, what you can contribute, where you will add value and what is the best environment for you (including what drives you and who you work best with) is the work to do before you change your resume.