For years we have been told to get our resumes in order before conducting a job search. Many clients who are considering a career move come to me begging me to get their resumes up to par so they can initiate their search. When asked what job they are targeting I often get the ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ response. That’s when I tell them to put on the brakes.
While it’s fine to update your resume with basic content like job titles, companies, degrees etc., I wouldn’t spend a whole lot of time fine tuning it just yet.
‘Don’t put the cart before the horse’
Until you know what job you want to target, fine – tuning your resume is a waste of time. First, figure out what you want to do next. If you have no clue what the future holds it’s time for a little introspection.
Conduct a self – assessment
If you want to avoid the trap that most dissatisfied job seekers fall into, you must get a handle on what makes you happiest at work. Take time to review the past (a good use of your resume) and write down aspects of each job you thoroughly enjoyed as well as those things you could do without.
Next, think about the skills you love to use and that you are proficient at. And don’t forget to identify those skills you are a wiz at performing but would just as soon ditch for the rest of your life.
Consider the work environments in which you have thrived vs. those you have barely survived. Maybe the high tech corporate scene no longer thrills you and the thought of working for a smaller, less structured company sounds more appealing.
Are you a manager who longs for the days when you didn’t have to deal with other peoples problems? Maybe that commute has got you too.
Do your homework
Now that you have identified your job requirements, it’s time to research which companies fit your criteria. Tap your network and ask them questions about those companies that interest you. Use LinkedIn for networking and contact people for informational meetings. Did I mention, this job search process is a lot of work?
Ok, time to work on the resume
Now that you have a target company and position in mind it’s time to customize your resume with relevant accomplishment statements to address the needs of the company/job you identified. Make sure your resume specifically addresses the requirements of the job description and includes relevant key words throughout.