Checklist for Determining Resume Distribution Readiness
The queries on the before-and-after checklist that follows formalize those that would informally or intuitively be asked by a resume coach before drafts are considered final versions. Visually scanning the resume from top to bottom inspires the following questions of both coach and resume writer.
Is the identifying information accurate, including your e-mail?
Is just one address and phone enough? Consider including your cell phone number.
Is it visually appealing, with information presented in a logical format, and easy to read?
Can you identify a logical pattern for headline, content, and highlighting techniques?
Can it be copied and pasted into an e-mail?
Is the objective brief, and does it use field-specific phrasing?
Does the summary of qualifications section support the stated objective?
Does this paragraph or bullet-point listing reveal that you possess the qualifications criteria for target jobs?
Does this section project to the future as well as reflect upon the past?
Are most significant goal-related qualifications statements presented first?
Do special headlines for experience and education project objective-related focus?
Does the order of appearance effectively portray significance?
Does the education section present school(s), degree(s), area(s) of concentration, courses, and honors?
Do courses, papers, and projects appear somewhere?
Is specialized training presented under a special headline?
Do headlines project knowledge of targeted fields and draw attention to related achievements?
Do headlines, quickly reviewed, identify the nature of entries that follow?
Are all entries described using active and accomplishment-oriented phrasing, including facts and figures?
Are goal-specific experiences grouped under appropriate headlines, presented in order of significance?
If entries are simply cited, with no descriptions, are they obviously of less importance than others?
Are organizations, titles, and dates easy to see, revealing an obvious pattern?
For space as well as goal-directed purposes, are only the most significant experiences thoroughly described, with most important appearing first?
If listed by soon-to-be or recent college grad, are leadership roles and achievements cited?
Are most important headlines presented first, with most significant information appearing under each?
If your resume is more than one page, is the most important information on the first page, and does the second page have your name and a page number header?
If you have more than one targeted resume, are objectives for each very clear?
Did you change order of presentation for each resume and are summaries of qualifications target-specific?
Can you elaborate upon the resume in a well-crafted cover letter or brief cover note?
Would readers sense goal-oriented competence and confidence without an accompanying letter?
Can you use the resume as a clear guide during an interview?
Are you definitely ready to distribute your resume?
Coach's Final Words
Step six of the seven required to create or update resumes involves drafting and critiquing. Questions on the before-and-after checklist reveal for you, with great confidence and closure, whether a resume is ready for distribution.
Resume coaches ask these questions aloud of those creating or updating documents. Silent or spoken answers inspire attitudes needed to stop drafting and start distributing.
If after you have sent a cover letter or resume you have updated the resume or wish to add additional information, do not hesitate to send follow-up documentation. Refer to earlier communications, yet highlight in your follow-up communiqué all critical new issues and assets on your revised resume.
As you recall, when all responses to the before-and-after checklist are yes, a resume is ready for distribution. If some answers are no, the document can be revised or used until changes are made.
While questions asked by coaches, advocates, and others do help, you now have a written script that they might use. In many creative and confidence-building ways, you now have what can be viewed as the very best coach's queries printed on just a few pages. To inspire continued re-evaluation, you might wish to print the before-and-after checklist and post it in a clearly visible location whenever you are creating or updating resumes.