Plan your resume! This is not a trick phrase or some weird marketing strategy! I am suggesting a new approach to very old document. In case you never used one, a resume or CV is a document used by individuals to present their background and skills for employment. Yes, I want you to think differently when it comes to your job search and much more.
Let’s start at the beginning. I want you to plan where you want to be in the future. The ideal time to plan your resume is when you do not need one. Sounds little like money, all the bankers are eager to lend you money when you do not need it. I am suggesting planning what you want to put on your resume so you will be the winning candidate. When is the best time? As early as possible! Whether it is a resume or college application, you have made choices which will either benefit your journey or hinder your progress.
The absolute best time is when you are a freshman in high school. Whether you want to apply to college in a few years or some other post secondary training, think about what would help you achieve your goal. If you ask high school students who were accepted to the best colleges, they had to have more than good grades. They were involved in student government, girl or boy scouts, they worked and volunteered. They participated in sports and have awards or distinguished themselves in academics, sports or extra curricular activities.
This is true for college too, plan what you need to have on your resume and do it to make you more attractive to employers. In many ways it is picking things from column A, B or C. If you are not good in sports, you pick something else. If scouting does not interest you, you pick another community organization. In college, internships are great ways to secure the career job after graduation. Think about that particular experience that will enhance your experience to make you the winning candidate.
Is this gaming the system? No, it is good planning. I had a high school student who was really good in math and science and wanted to be a medical doctor. I suggested that she volunteers in a local hospital. It would do two (2) things, one would help her college application (resume) and it would help her confirm her desire to become a doctor. I also suggested that she work for a doctor as a part time job. Both jobs provide opportunities, to see medicine as a career and to ask questions.
You start your dream job, are you done? Do you want to leave your future in other people’s hands? As my children started their careers and moved out of our home, I talked about their future with them. It wasn’t the first time more like the hundredth! What did they ultimately want to do? Over time, things change and still are changing. I want them to constantly think about what experience will enhance their resume. Which experience or choice helps them to that next level? If you are thinking about it, you will do something about it. It is part of goal setting, isn’t it?
Start with the successful people in your company or the company you want to join. If you want to be the next Steve Jobs, the path may not be that clear. What education or training do the executives in your company have? What other skills do they have that make them more effective? Some of these things will never appear on your resume, but they are skills that make them successful. Are you ready for the next step or promotion? If not, what are you doing about it? Are you proactive in developing your career?
Many large companies have up and coming managers in a fast track to the top. They receive training and exposure to a variety of experiences in the company. In every organization, you want to be somebody that is recognized for your skills and abilities. You want to be the first person they think of for that next promotion or opening. How can you raise your visibility? What are you doing about getting the appropriate skills, knowledge and experience so you are ready for that next opportunity?
Stop thinking of resumes as a historical document and plan your future. Think about what skills, education, knowledge and experience that will enhance your career and make your resume the best choice. If you plan your future, your resume is just a marketing tool for you. This applies to the entrepreneur too. What experience is best for you to achieve your goal? Successful people plan, they do not just let things happen to them. What will you do? Plan your resume!
Photo by: buyalex
This was originally published as Do your Resume Backwards! and recently updated.
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Plan your resume!