Preparing To Write Your Resume

Before you write a single word on your resume, you must consider what you want to say. We will get to the proper resume format and the recommended order of presentation in future articles. But first to get started, you must gather your thoughts and carefully consider what are the most important things about yourself you want any employer to know. The employer(s) you are applying to will want to know that you have both specific qualifications as well as general qualifications they are looking for in a good candidate. It is up to you to prepare a presentation of yourself that will detail why you are an excellent candidate for the job you want and the job they are posting.

All employers will want to know about your work experience, both your work experience directly related to the job you are after and your overall work experience in general. You want to give the employer a sense that you are an experienced employee, you know what it means to work successfully, and that you have the ability to learn and prove yourself to be an excellent employee.

Answer this first question as completely as you can.

Describe your previous three jobs, for each job describe…

• where did you work?

• when did you start?

• when did you end working there?

• what was your job title?

• what were your duties?

• what knowledge did you have to have to do that job?

• what tools, machines, equipment or technology did you use?

• Were you ever praised, rewarded, recognized for the job you did?

Employers want to know that you have skills that will valuable on the job. Make a list of all the skills you can think of that you possess. You can pick and choose later which ones are most relevant but for now make a huge list of your skills. This step will also help you prepare for interviews. The types of skills you have may include computer skills, math skills, money handling skills, organizational skills, customer service, sales and more. The more skills you have, the more value you have as an employee. Think about it and make the biggest list you can.

Employers want to know that you are smart, knowledgeable and interested in learning. Make a list of all the classes, courses, trainings, workshops, any and all education you have attained that shows both that you know a lot and that you are a successful learner. Consider the classes in school that are related to the work you want. Also include all that you have been taught on jobs and from the people who have shared their know-how with you. You will include your formal education on your resume, but it can be very impressive to carefully pick and show specific knowledge and education you have relevant to the job you are seeking.

Lastly, employers will want to know about any additional qualities, accomplishments, abilities, and knowledge that you can bring to a job. Outside of what you have already listed, prepare an overview of everything you can think of that an employer might find impressive. Think of awards, volunteer experience, school accomplishments, any and everything that would give an employer an impression that you are someone special.

Once you have collected, prepared and written all of this detail, you will have a fortune to draw from in putting together a great resume specific to the job you want. Do this prep work first and we will address how to put it together in our next article.

Now it’s your turn: start collecting your information and remember the harder you work, the luckier you get.

Norm Sternfeld, The Resume Wiz