You know you need a resume to launch your job search. The problem is: You don’t know where or how to begin. Essentially, you’re staring at a blank page on your computer, save for your name, address, and contact information. You’ve got a case of writer’s block: resume style. And you need to cure that malady – fast! Here are five ways to help you break through it.
Resume writer’s block can manifest itself in many ways. You may be facing one of these common dilemmas:
- You can’t craft a strong, coherent Objective or Summary;
- You’re having a hard time expressing your top accomplishments in your most recent positions;
- You’re having difficulty separating the important stuff that belongs on the resume from the insignificant or not-so-important; or
- Probably the worst of this group: You don’t really know what you want to do with your career.
No matter what form it takes, if you’re faced with resume writer’s block, you might want to take at least one of these five steps toward a cure:
1. Write down your career goal.
Every effort starts with a goal in mind. If you’re unclear what you really want in your next job, it will be tough to write an Objective or Summary. Your goal could be to branch out into a new area, or simply to find a decent company that will respect you and allow you to just do what you're doing now. Once you figure that out, the rest becomes easier because you can tailor your resume to support that specific goal.
2. Find the right mood or setting.
Where can you concentrate best at a time of day when you’re most productive and creative? In a quiet area of your home in the morning? Amid the noise of a coffee shop during the lunch-time rush? The right environment can make a difference. If you need to be in a more pleasant mood, go for a run or workout, then start writing after the endorphins have been unleashed inside your head.
3. Break your resume into chunks.
If you find it a challenge to write your resume in one sitting, build it piece by piece. You could start at the top with your Objective or Summary (because it sets the tone for the rest of the resume). But it may be easier to start by filling in your Education, or the dates and titles from your past jobs in the Experience section. Just getting something down will help. Once you’re satisfied with one part, put it down, take a break, and come back to build the next piece.
4. Start with a rough draft.
Just write your resume in rough form. Then, edit it (have someone else read it too if you wish), write a second draft, edit it again. Write a third draft, edit again … you get the idea. Sometimes the best work takes several drafts before you’re satisfied.
5. Set some deadlines.
If you thrive on structure and setting a time limit, give yourself a deadline for completing the resume. If you’re not under intense time pressure to get it done (say, less than a week), set a deadline for each part of the resume or for each draft. Then stick to each deadline.
An important document such as your resume should never be rushed, but at the same time, you never know how quickly you need one. Yet, if you’re having a hard time writing a resume, follow these suggestions to ensure your resume will be done right and enhance your chances at landing the job you want.
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