Writing your first resume
Before you begin your job search, you need to create a resume. If you are an avid writer or you have a degree in communications, this may be just another task to check off in the process of your search. However, if composition or language arts were not your strongest subjects in school, the very idea of preparing or writing your first resume may seem a bit daunting to you. Okay, daunting may not be the word for it. Perhaps intimidating, loathing or even frightening could be your term. If so, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re in good company. I was once a part of that group. It was the very first time I was tasked to write my own resume.
I can’t say I was frightened by the prospect, but I was rather concerned. My employment history at that time was limited to two companies, and I had been at each one for a number of years. Although I did go through the interview process, neither company required me to submit a resume at the time, which was fine for me, since I didn’t have one. However, this was a disadvantage. After a dozen years with the second company, we were downsized, and I suddenly found myself searching for a new job with no prospects, no paper resume and no idea how to proceed.
Fortunately, as part of the layoff, my former employer provided each of us with a generous severance package. Part of that package included a week with an outplacement service. This is a company that provides counseling to employees who have been laid off and assists them with finding a new job. The outplacement company conducted what it called a Career Transition Workshop, which included a complete course in writing a professional resume. It was exactly what I needed.
I learned how to organize my thoughts, define my objective, how to summarize my qualifications, list my education and experience, what language to use, and how to lay it all out in a clean, concise, format that was easy to read and could be scanned quickly. I learned a lot in that course, and once I understood the overall process of writing a resume, it really wasn’t difficult to write one of my own. In fact, I found it rather creative, and in some ways, it was almost fun.
My first resume soon generated a lot of phone calls for interviews, and within a short time, I had a new job working with a new company in the same industry as before.
Once I discovered that I could write an effective resume, something else happened. I took the skills I learned for writing my own resume and began to create and proofread resumes for others on the side. I even made a little money with it. I could have pursued it further, but it was not my long term career goal, so I let it go. But that’s another story.
When it comes right down to it, the all important process of writing or updating your first resume depends on how you approach it. You may find it boring, awkward or even intimidating. But it needn’t be any of those. It’s really about your mindset. Remember, your resume is a marketing tool. Think of it as a challenge, a creative challenge, one that can not only help you improve your communication skills, it may even take your career in a whole new direction.