Resume Preparation

Resume preparation can make a huge difference in how your resume turns out. Take the time now to do your homework to ensure your resume is top notch.

First: Choose your focus

Decide what type of job you'll be applying for and keep it in mind during the resume writing process. Knowing what you want to do will help you focus your resume on the specific job. Tailoring your resume in this way helps employers match your skills to those they need.

The job objective you have in mind doesn't have to actually appear on your resume, but it can really help employers if you show it there. Most employers do like to see an objective statement on your resume. It helps them to know exactly what you are looking for. If the employer has several open positions and your resume does not have a job objective, then you are taking a chance that you will be considered for a job other than the one you intended… or not considered at all.

Second: Take inventory

Start with several pieces of blank paper. Title each with the following headings and then brainstorm. Think of anything and everything that falls under that heading and write it down.

  • Education
  • Work Experience
  • Honors and awards
  • Special Skills and Abilities
  • Professional Affiliations
  • Activities
  • Volunteer Work

As you reflect on each heading, think about each one from the employer's point of view. Remember, the question in the employer's mind is: "Why should I speak with this person? How is he/she better than all the other applicants?" Try to answer these questions under each heading. Talking out loud about your overall career and job skills and experiences can sometimes be helpful. Ask yourself for each job and experience, "What did I do and how will that make a difference to a prospective employer?"

Third: Organize your information

Put all of your information in the order in which it will appear in your resume. This kind of resume preparation can save a lot of confusion and stress whenever you start to actually type up the resume. Make sure you keep everything in chronological order.

While you can use any of a number of resume formats, your primary goal is to ensure that the information on your resume needs to be focused on the job and the employer you are targeting. That means you have to list your most impressive information first. If your education is going to make the employer jump up and down, then that is the first heading you should put on your resume (under the job objective, if you use that). If you have excellent work experience with prominent employers, then you should list that first.

Resume preparation is critical to your success as a job candidate. Your resume will be better for it and your interviewing skills will actually be better, too. You’ll know your own skills and abilities better and your chances of impressing the employer are significantly improved, too.

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