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Curing Underemployment (or) Josh’s Six Step Plan to a Great Resume (part 2 of 6)

Read the first step towards writing a great resume, write down the positions you want

Step 2: Write down all of the jobs you’ve ever had (within reason) and brain dump everything that happened for each one.

Ready for class...
Ready for class...

Yikes! Are you ready for this one?

Start with the company you worked for, then list all of the positions you had for that company. If you’re 40 and you worked at McDonalds when you with 18, this probably isn’t too relevant… unless you were a manager after a year and worked there for 3 years. Longevity means something in this age of indecision!

With this list of positions, write down EVERYTHING you did in that position…

  • What were you responsible to do?
  • What teams did you interact with?
  • What goals did you reach?
  • How did you help that group?
  • What did you do in the morning? On Mondays? Every October?
  • Did you write reports?
  • Did you close the place down?
  • Did you work closely with the CEO?
  • Were you critical to sales?
  • What did you do 8 hours a day?

Don’t worry if you’ve got a few (or several or many) pages of information; we’ll cut the fat later.

What you want is an information bank that you can use now and forever. The more you write down, the more you will remember and the more you have to pick from when it’s time to pick out content for the resume. This is something you should save, backup, and keep indefinitely. 5 years from now when you’re applying for a different position or a promotion, you will have a bank of experience to draw from. I wish I had done this years ago.

After you’ve gotten down all the experience you’ve earned over the years, it’s time to parlay that into an overall skill list. Skills, aka Qualifications (much more business-y word), are things you are capable doing right now. There are two general groups of skills: “hard” and “soft.” Hard skills are the ability to use Quark or Adobe products or code PHP. Hard skills are easy to qualify and easy to demonstrate. Soft skills include things like customer service, teaching, able to be a team player. Hard skills are easy to list but soft skills are tricky. Think about situations that you are comfortable in that other people are not. Think about what you can handle well that otehrs can’t. Think of ways to differentiate yourself. Being patient and skilled enough to teach people on a regular basis is a skill. Being very organized and dependable is a skill. Communicating well, both verbally and otherwise, is a skill. Don’t forget about the soft stuff.

While you‘re thinking about positions and companies, get the addresses, names, and numbers of the companies for which you worked. You might not be able to track down your former boss but find a way to verify your employment at that organization. The person that is managing your hire will also, inevitably, want to see when you worked for each of these places. Make sure you include month and year to be specific. If you’re off by one or two, that’s fine but if you said you worked form 2006 to 2007, that could be almost two years or just a couple months; make the distinction.

Come back tomorrow and read the third step in Josh’s resume writing process!

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