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Prepare an Outline for Your Resume: Why?

February 20, 2017 - Posted to Resume Tips

Content prepare an outline for your resume

Think you can prepare your resume blind? Think again. You may think you know about your career or accomplishments without thinking about them, but as you start to write down the different parts of your resume you will discover how much you may have forgotten over the years.

Everyone that looks at your resume, among your friends, will find something different that you have left out. We all think we are resume experts, but without doing an outline, we will overlook some of the basic structures which include:

  • Job Objective
  • Related skills
  • Education
  • Work experiences
  • Accomplishments
  • A cover letter to accompany your resume
  • Correct contact layout
  • Keywords related to the job posting

Did this list change your mind about needed an outline? It should. Hiring managers report that 65% of the resumes that cross their desk have 2 or more of the basic inclusions that a resume needs from that list above. You want to be the person that includes them all.

Lot of information, little bit of space.

Hold your resume in your hand. See where your thumb lands on the page? This is where most hiring managers stop reading your resume. Many job seekers don't even know how to edit a PDF to create a more crystal clear resume. Not only does an outline help us to be aware of the content that we may be missing when developing out resume, it also helps us to prioritize the information so that we put the most important content towards the top.

How are your communication skills?

Outlining your resume gives you time to go over it out loud. Not many applicants think to do this. We suggest that when you are done with your resume that you read it out loud. This will:

  1. Show any mistakes in grammar and cohesive information
  2. Help keep concrete points in your head for when you are in an interview
  3. Help you to weed out unwanted and or obsolete information
  4. Help you prepare for the interview.

Try this - Record your voice while reading your resume. Take your time and read it slow and steady. Now play it back. Now you can hear what the hiring manager will read. You will find mistakes faster this way, and you will hear if there is anything missing. Hearing your resume is a great way to improve it.

When being called into an interview, if you have “talked to your resume” so to speak, you will communicate more effectively in an interview. If you are not comfortable yet, you can consider developing this area taking communication skills training.

Outlining for type of Resume

When doing a chronological type resume, you may not need to take much time to list where you have worked, but when you don’t have much experience and are just coming out of college or high school, a skills resume may be more beneficial.

A skills resume will take longer and is the type of resume that you do not want to begin without an outline or help from a professional or a friend.

It is easy to hide your lack of experience in a skill resume than in a chronological one, for instance if you have not worked for several years, you may list one of your skills as freelancer or independent contractor. It sounds much better than if you put down “out of work”.

A paperboy can put on a skill resume that he maintained the marketing territory for one of the largest media corporations in his area, serving upwards of 200 people a day. See why you need help and an outline? If you dive into your resume without thinking you will short-change yourself and possibly lose out on a great job opportunity.

Invest in Your Future

Your resume or cover letter is your introduction to an employer. With the tracking software that many companies are using today, you do not want to end up in the junk pile along with others that did not take the time to do their resume.

Think of an outline as a rough draft for your resume, and your resume as the final paper. During the time you are doing your rough draft, get in touch with people that know you to get some recommendation letter written.

If your future employer does not ask for them right away, at least you will have them ready if they eventually want them. An outline gets you prepared for your best job effort, and the best resume result. Good luck in your job hunt!