We all do it. We procrastinate. The ‘p-word’ is one of the top reasons people cite for not completing their resume. I often hear from my clients, “I’ve been planning to apply for about a month and now the deadline is tomorrow! Can you help me?” Unfortunately, waiting until the last minute to update your resume will most often result in a product that is inferior to what you would have created if you had stayed more task oriented. Let’s stop the madness. Here are four ways to stop procrastinating and write your resume.
The idea of writing a perfect 1-2 page resume is a daunting one. An easy first step is to read through the job description and then write a list of all of the qualifications you can offer that relate to the position. Then, read through that list and make notes underneath each qualification. Consider the following questions: Why do I have this qualification? What experiences do I have that prove I have this qualification? When have I been recognized for this qualification? How can I quantify this qualification?
Read through your existing draft and compare it to your list. Make notes on what you want to change about your existing resume. Where can you add content? What formatting could be improved? How can you individualize your resume content to your potential employer?
These lists will help focus your thoughts and often prove easier to write because there is less pressure to be perfect.
Perfecting your resume can make your brain feel very overwhelmed. A productive method for handling any large task and to stop procrast is to break it down into smaller tasks. Then schedule a time to complete those tasks on your calendar or however you hold yourself accountable.
Here is an example schedule for how to get a resume complete in a little over a week:
Monday – noon – 1 pm (During your lunch break) – Get lunch at a coffee shop and draft a list of all the changes you want to make to your resume.
Tuesday 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm (after the kids go to bed) – Go through your heading, executive summary, and critical competencies sections and make any formatting and content updates from your list.
Wednesday 7am – 8am – (arrive at work early) – Update your professional experience, education, and affiliation sections. Make sure all of your accomplishments relate to the position you are pursuing and the formatting is updated and consistent.
Thursday – Solicit Feedback – You can reach out to a resume consultant like myself to receive feedback or send it to several friends. It’s always good to reach out to a professional, but a trusted and professional friend can also work if you are on a budget. Arrange a lunch or schedule some time with your resume consultant in advance so that you can be sure to get your draft reviewed in a timely manner.
Friday – Noon Lunch – Review through the feedback. Make the basic edits quickly. Then be thoughtful about any content suggestions. Review through the feedback multiple times so you can really get an understanding of your outside feedback.
Saturday & Sunday – 8 am – 10 am – Make all edits that you decided to implement. Then send to a different person to edit for grammar, syntax, and format consistency. On Sunday, you can go through it one more time to polish it up. Then your resume should be ready for the next week.
There are times when any great writer gets stuck. That’s okay. My advice is to get something on the page. Go ahead and work on formatting to take a break from resume content. Then just write something. It doesn’t matter if it is terrible. You can write something that you dislike and it can transition into an action phrase that is incredibly effective. You have to start somewhere. Don’t be afraid to just start writing.
A lot of us require external accountability to stop procrastination. External accountability can be in the form of a calendar reminder on your phone or an actual person. It depends on what method works for you. You could send your tasks to your friend and ask them to call you and follow up and see how your resume progress is going. It could also be that simply having that time blocked out on your calendar is enough.
If you require professional consultation, please contact me. I would be happy to help you stop procrastinating and be accountable for getting your resume updated. I also provide you with the expertise needed to take your resume to the next level. Click here to learn more and order your critique today!