Getting started is the hardest part...

Every day prospective clients call with the same dilemma: "Where do I begin in preparing to write my resume?" It's not as difficult a job as you might think. Your resume is not an English composition assignment. It's a promotional marketing project. If you don't promote your value, no employer will perceive your value. If you're not a natural self-promoter or a good promotional copywriter, then getting objective outside help is a prudent investment. Approach the assignment logically and from a marketing perspective.

What do you want to be when you grow up? This timeless question applies to grownups, too.

What do you want people to think as a result of reading your resume? Think about the desired outcome or the impression you'd like people to have from reading your paperwork. If you want a job as international operative in the French Foreign Legion, then you need to say so!

What is the business case for your candidacy? Sounds complicated, but it's all about providing the supporting documentation to underpin your case. So, make the case!

What are the keywords that need to appear in your paperwork? As much as we'd like to think that real live human beings are pouring over your document and reading between the lines, the truth is that sometimes your document is being machine read. And machines can only score your resume well if the right words appear.

What are the highest and best experiences in your career to date? We call these "Select Career Highpoints" or "Select Critical Contributions." These should be the best things you've ever done. If you cannot enumerate 3-5 good two-line bullets on stuff you've done, then shame on you.

What are the expected benefits of hiring you? Employers buy expected benefits; not features. They could care less about the tasks and duties of your job. They'd rather read about the outcomes, accomplishments or benefits you bestow on an employer. So, lead with benefits of hiring you; not the nuts and bolts of your last job.

Final words: More is not always better. Many a client has trapesed into this office with a bushel and a peck of material. We don't need your award from 1983, testimonial letter from that happy customer circa 1995 or the certificate of completion of Advanced Excel training.

Information on your competitive positioning, highest and best achievements, and accomplishments in your jobs are what really matters. A good resume writer armed with organized content, a self-aware candidate, a creative imagination and a little objectivity can usually pull together a compelling case and make you look great on paper.

Having relevant, organized material makes all the difference in the world. For a jump start, go to the "Getting Started" section on our website. Remember, we are not soothsayers, magicians or clairvoyant. The more work you do in advance the better prepared we can be to understand, digest, condense and present the sparkling copy that comprises a good resume by today's standard.

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