Drafting and Critiquing Your Resume
Your first draft should be inspired by the sample resumes you've reviewed and analyzed. They will probably influence your choice of content and the order of your information. Let them. Later on, you can go back and determine the best order of presentation, and omit unnecessary entries.
You'll find plenty of resume-building software to tempt you as you create your draft. Resist the temptation and use a basic word-processing application. Most, like Microsoft Word, come with resume templates. While attractive, these lock you into a format, and that can limit how you present yourself. Also, prospective employers have seen these templates used over and over. You might eliminate yourself from consideration just because a hiring manager dislikes a particular format. Give yourself the greatest control over your resume by starting with a blank page.
The Internet has hundreds of listings for professional resume writers. Do your best to resist! Your resume is your responsibility; nobody can present you better than you can. If you are still dissatisfied with your finished product, you may consider a professional resume writer (see Chapter 6 for guidance). Your drafts will be a good basis for your consultation with an expert.
The First Draft
As you put your first draft together, don't worry about keeping it to any particular length. If anything, it is better to start long and edit it down later. Write as spontaneously as you can. Don't rewrite as you go; that's a sure way to inhibit your creativity and there will be plenty of time for rewriting when your draft is complete.
Your finished resume should be concise. If it is still longer than one page after your best editing efforts, so be it! Employers do read two-page resumes as long as they are well organized, with the most important information on the first page. The one-page resume rules are part of the old way of job hunting.
When drafting, aim just to get the information down. Jot descriptive phrases to help you capture your thoughts quickly. You don't have to use articles (
Reviewing the Draft
Begin your critique only when you have a complete draft in hand. Some people like to see their resume on paper, and they edit with the old red pen technique. Others revise and edit onscreen. Work the way you're most comfortable, being sure that your method helps you polish your draft to perfection. Critiquing does not mean criticizing. Your revisions are meant to transform your resume into its most powerful form. Be positive. Make immediate changes as you need to, and be prepared to make future changes as your job search progresses.