How to Prepare a Resume

Before you jump in and start writing your resume, it’s best to take a little time beforehand to gather all the necessary information that you’ll need. This article takes a look at how to prepare a resume. Resume preparation requires a little research on your part, such as looking up employment dates, but once you have all the information to hand, you’ll be able to make clearer choices and select the facts that will best serve your resume. Preparing beforehand also prevents you from getting stuck during the writing process. Stopping to look up a fact can easily derail you and make the process longer than it needs to be.

When gathering information for your resume, start with the easy and most obvious things first, such as qualifications and past employment. Take a piece of paper or open up a new word processor document and list all the facts that may be useful during the writing of your resume.

Education List

Note down the name and location of all your schools, with the dates that you attended. Include any qualifications that you have received while you were there. If you have graduated, include the name of your degree, the area of study and the date that you received it. Also jot down any other qualifications you may have, such as membership to professional institutes or apprenticeships that you have taken part in.

Employment List

Make a list of all the companies that you’ve worked for, along with the dates of your employment. Include the name of the company, the nature of the product or service, the job title you held and what duties you performed. If you are just leaving school and are looking for full time employment for the first time, write down any part time or voluntary jobs you may have held.

Achievements List

Note down as many of your accomplishments as you can think of. Start with things that you have achieved in the workplace, but also consider accomplishments in other areas of your life, such as sports, community activities and charities or any awards that you may have received.

Writing an achievements list may prove to be difficult for some people, but if you take the time to dig deeper into what you have achieved in life, you may find yourself surprised by how much you have actually accomplished. Doing this exercise can also help in an interview situation and provide you with examples that you can use in response to interview questions, which you may not have thought of otherwise.

Skills List

For this list, think about your strengths and expertise. We all have our strong points and personal qualities, which we can use to highlight in a resume. There are many possible examples that you can use, such as a good knowledge of computers, great people skills, planning, communication, organizational, negotiation, the ability to run meetings, the list is endless.

If you’ve done the previous exercise, a skills list list should come easy. You just need to look down your achievements list and consider the skills that contributed to the success of each achievement.

Job Requirements List

This last list is all about your potential employer and requires a bit more outside research. The exercise involves compiling a list of the skills and experience that are needed in the industry you wish to enter. This may entail some online research or talking to people already in that field of work.

Compiling a list of your industry’s requirements helps you focus on the assets that your potential employer is looking for, which could give you an advantage over other applicants. Once you’ve done this exercise, you can simply match the listed requirements with the qualities listed on your skills and achievements lists. This helps you tailor your resume, so that it highlights the qualities that a potential employer most wants to see.

If you’re responding to an advertised vacancy, study the requirements in the advertisement to see which of the skills and achievements you have could be most applicable. Also study other ads for your chosen career to see what requirements are frequently requested.

Taking the time to prepare these lists will give you plenty of information to draw upon when the time comes to write your resume. These lists can be saved and used later to prepare for an interview or to tweak your resume for a specific job you are targeting.