We’d be willing to wager that resume writing receives much more procrastination than an “I quit” email. It is, however, the most powerful tool for helping you find the job you do want. Joyous news is that it doesn’t have to be a stress-inducing item that you spend hours on for every job application. Instead of devoting half your life to creating unique resumes, you can develop a system for building a resume fast and stick to it. Couple that with a killer thank you note and you might just find yourself with a new job.
While you won’t be able to remove all of the work from every application, building a resume template removes a lot of the hassle from the job hunt. To start, make an easy-accessible list of every job you’ve had, as well as your responsibilities and accomplishments for each job. If it helps, divide these into categories to make later searching easier. For example, if you managed a budget at two of your jobs, put those listings under a budget management category for later reference. This’ll make building unique resumes for each opening a snap! If you apply for a job in the future that wants budget management experience, you immediately have two previous jobs to include on your resume, as well as additional information you can include in a cover letter.
After breaking your responsibilities down into categories, you’ll want to find a user-friendly resume template, or use one of the dozens of resources online that help you build a resume. The template should be appropriate for the job you’re applying for—jobs in marketing, for example, often require more creative and colorful resumes than jobs at the local bank. Before deciding on a template, decide on the company culture you’re looking for and use that as design inspiration.
Once you’ve decided on a design template and broken down all of your past responsibilities and job titles, it’s as easy as plugging in the appropriate information and continuing to do so for each relevant position. While it may be a bit of work, in the beginning, this process guarantees an expedited application process in the future, meaning you can spend more time searching for the right job instead of obsessing over minuscule details in each and every resume.
The final thing to do before sending off your application is to have someone proofread it, or at least go over it yourself a few times—people land interviews and jobs all the time without all of the requisite experience, but people rarely land interviews with a typo-riddled resume. Applicants often go through several rounds before being hired, and the first is usually determined by who has typos in their resume and who doesn’t.
There are thousands of ways to build a resume that’s right for you, but that doesn’t mean they have to take days to build. By keeping a database of past jobs and responsibilities, as well as a handful of resume templates on hand, you’ll ensure you can build a unique resume in a matter of minutes, as opposed to spending hours laboring over a detail here or a keyword there.