When I lecture to audiences on job market skills (specifically on resume development and cover letter creation), I always outline specific key factors to think about and apply in the initial formulation stages and throughout the resume development process. These key factors are essential tools in laying the foundations in creating a winning marketing document. Resume writing is not a difficult process; however, it is an ‘art form’ so to speak. This ‘art form’ comes in the process of learning how to apply concise, high impact writing techniques in a consistent manner throughout the document.
You need to alter your mind set and think in terms of the ‘3-factor think tank’: think objectively, think laterally, and think quality!
Firstly, by thinking objectively, you should be thinking in third person when writing your resume and cover letter. As you are developing your resume and letter you will be undergoing a lot of internal dialogue – asking yourself questions about what you have done, what you have achieved, what skills you have developed, and so forth. Ask yourself these necessary questions in third person, in other words, remove the ‘I’ from the equation and instead replace it with your name. By doing this, you will find a subtle shift in the mindset, like you are thinking about somebody else instead of yourself. The majority of people find it way easier to write positive things about somebody else rather than themselves.
Secondly, by thinking laterally, you need to think in terms of the skills you have developed both in and out of work situations. For example, skills you have attained and developed whilst studying or attending training courses, in paid employment, in volunteer or community involvement, and so forth.
Thirdly, by thinking quality, you must think in terms of the quality of the written content, not the quantity. A two-page concisely written resume can blow a 5-page resume right out of the water. Do not stress if you do not think you have produced enough content. Concentrate on the content you do have. When writing your cover letter, never exceed one page unless specifically requested. The word quantity should not exist in your vocabulary.
When developing your resume and cover letter, ensure you pay attention to these factors. Guaranteed, you will find the process easier as it goes along, and it will also make the updating process effortless.
Remember, it’s all about marketing you!