Preparing for your Search

Doing your homework

Before deciding to take that next step in your career, you need to do your homework. Why are you looking to make a move? What next move makes sense in your career? Begin by thinking through your current and previous roles. Give thought to what to what you have liked about them and what you would change. Other considerations in your search are types of industries that appeal to you, size of companies, cultures and management styles. There might be a range of answers and not just one. Also, give thought to your top three drivers. Ask yourself what are the three most important things to you in your next role? Write those drivers down. They will be your roadmap as you move forward. Make sure as you explore opportunities that your top three drivers are being met throughout your search for each role you consider. Next begin thinking through additional details such as: Why would someone hire you? What sets you apart from other potential employees? What are some of my intrinsic skills? What are my accomplishments?

Preparing your resume

It’s important to remember, your resume is the tool that gets your foot in the door. You need to do your research and make sure you are spending time creating the resume format that works for you, that sells your skills and experience best. Investing time in creating the perfect resume can make a difference on whether or not you get an interview. Encourage several people to look over your resume and make sure there are no grammatical mistakes. It is difficult to get started. Once you begin, you will fin it easier than you think to put to paper all you have done.

Resume formats

The two most common resume formats are chronological and functional. While both are acceptable, chronological tends to be the preferred format because the reader can attach accomplishment with a specific position and timeframe. The first format details your experience in chronological format for each position held, whereas a functional format is most commonly uses a skills an accomplishment bulleted section at the top of the resume with work history following (listing of company names, titles, dates of employment).

Decide on which format will work best for you and begin your first draft. Be concise, using information and examples that add value, and try to limit your resume to one or two pages. Bullet your accomplishments as narratives can get difficult to read. You resume should be easy to read and concise. Your resume format should start with your name and contact information (address, phone number, email address) centered at the top of the page. Follow your name with appropriate credentials. Be mindful of personal email addresses. If your personal email is very casual, consider setting up a more professional email address. It would probably be best not to list your work email address.

Employment history should be laid out in a well organized uniform way: Company name, location, and time period. We recommend including a single sentence describing the Company industry, and if possible estimated annual revenues. Within one employer, if you have had multiple positions, be sure and list them individually (including time periods) so as to show your progression.

One of the most common mistakes is filling up the resume with a long list of responsibilities and duties that you have performed in your past jobs as opposed to the specific accomplishments that added value to the organization. Those accomplishments can vary from creating a cost savings, improving a process, implementing a system, affecting service, or another significant contribution to the Company. Be specific about your accomplishments and where applicable, quantify the results. Also make sure you list these bullets in the order of biggest accomplishment to recurring responsibilities.

After highlighting your experiences, include a section on education and certifications. This should be followed by a section on system skills. We suggest to not including personal information, or hobbies in your resume.

As you develop and fine tune your resume, use additional resources from your recruiter, the internet, and even resume writing books for assistance and other ideas.

One resume does not work for every position applied for/employer. Though the core of the resume and its content should stay the same for the positions in which you are applying, it is important to have a resume that allows you to tailor certain experiences or skill sets to the positions for which you are applying.