Why a resume checklist? Because getting hired is a serious business. And your resume is one of your most powerful business tools. It’s your chance to not only get your foot in the door, but also keep you at the top of the employer’s callback list, since a resume lives on even after you’re in the door.
When I first started looking for a job many years ago, I figured as long as my resume looked nice and I interviewed well, I was going to get the job. And there were times that I did despite my not-so great resume. Sometimes a positive attitude can conquer all.
But it’s a very different job market out there now. And more than ever you need a strong resume that doesn’t sell you short. One that hits all the key points in a way that registers quickly as a likely match and leaves the screener wanting to know more.
Top resume checklist items
To help you make sure your resume is an effective door-opener for your job search, I put together a quickie list of reminders. Maybe you don’t need each and every one. But it’s worth at least thinking about it. (You can find more posts below to expand on the tips — and to help you build your own resume.)
WRITING TIPS CHECKLIST
✓ Customize / target to each job (not same for all).
✓ Strong summary statement (at top under name & contact info).
✓ Use job description as a “focus” guide.
✓ Key words and phrases based on job.
✓ Lead with / emphasize your strengths.
✓ Include transferable skills.
✓ Emphasize required technical skills.
✓ Add soft skills as indicated by job description.
✓ Use accomplishments (active verbs) not merely responsibilities.
✓ Quantify where you can.
✓ Fill in any date gaps.
STRENGTHENING YOUR CHANCES
✓ Make sure you fit the job.
✓ Aim toward future you want (not past parts that have no bearing).
✓ Easy to read / looks good / looks professional.
✓ Think where reader’s eyes will focus at first glance for key elements.
✓ Proofread for typos, grammar.
✓ Tell the “story of you” to fit this job opening.
✓ Strong targeted cover letter.
✓ Send to the right person & address them professionally.
✓ Find a champion to help get you inside the door.
✓ FINALLY: Prepare references page & contact each to make sure available / willing / correct info.
Going beyond your resume checklist
In the previous section, I mentioned finding a champion. But your greatest ally is networking of any kind. And that includes not only people you already know but ones you may meet even standing in line at the store. (I had that happen once.)
You never know who you might find that knows of a job or knows someone who knows of a job.
While networking used to be a nice extra, more and more the good jobs are not even listed yet. But a supportive network can help get you there before it gets seen by the general jobseeker public. Or provide an insider connection for the listed jobs.
Got questions? Feel free to ask me using the comments section below. I’ll do my best to answer you.
More posts to help:
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