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STEP 1: Preparing for Your Search

Getting Ready

There are two important stages to complete as you begin a new job search.

1. Do Your Homework

Spend time identifying the specific things that are important to you and the advancement of your career.

2. Prepare Your Resume

Consider the proper formatting to showcase your skills, and use best practices to help hiring managers choose you.

1. Do Your Homework

Ask Yourself: Why are you looking to make a move? What kind of move makes sense?

Before deciding to take that next step in your career, you need to do your homework. 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.

What are your top three drivers?

What are the three most important things to you in your next role?

Write these drivers down.

They will be your roadmap as you move forward. As you explore opportunities make sure that your top three drivers are being met for each role you consider. 

Consider your preferences, which could be a range of answers:

  • What types of industries that appeal to you?
  • What company sizes are a fit?
  • What kinds of cultures and management styles suit you?

Ask Yourself: What are some reasons that a company would hire you?

  • What sets you apart from other potential employees?
  • What are some of your intrinsic skills?
  • What are your accomplishments?

2. Prepare Your Resume

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. Choose the one 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. This can be a difficult process to start. Once you begin, however, you will find it easier than you think to put to paper all you have done.

Which format should you use?

The two most common resume formats are chronological and functional

Chronological Format: Details your experience in chronological format for each position held.

Functional Format: 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).

While both are acceptable, chronological tends to be the preferred format because the reader can attach accomplishment with a specific position and timeframe. Choose the one that best sells your experience.

Your First Draft

After deciding on a format, begin your first draft. Be concise, using information and examples that add value.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Your resume should be concise and easy to read.
  • Try to limit your resume to 1-2 pages.
  • Bullet your accomplishments, as narratives can get difficult to read.
  • Your resume layout 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, i.e. “soccermom99@gmail.com“, consider setting up a more professional email address. It’s not advised to list your work email address.)

Employment History Layout

Employment history should be laid out in a well organized uniform way: Company Name, Location, and Time Period.

ACME Corporation, San Antonio, TX,  May 2011 – Present

 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.

Highlight Accomplishments Instead of Responsibilities

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.

Accomplishments can vary from:

  • Creating a cost savings
  • Improving a process
  • Implementing a system
  • Affecting service
  • 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.

Education & Additional Resources 

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

Additional Career Resources