5 Rules of Organization to Apply to Your Resume for Career Progression or Transition

I am an organizational junkie.  I love reading, watching and listening to anything about organization; from the garage, kitchen, closets, office – any organizational tip I can find I read it or watch it with excitement.

I guess I am hoping one day all those shows, videos, books, articles and tidbits will magically sink in and make me organized.

I have a bit of dual personality when it comes to organization.  My work is very organized, my environment, well, that is a different story.  Let’s just say it is a work in progress.

Looking at my office this morning I realize it is time for an organization intervention.  I started thinking about the general rules of organization.  Although it is definitely needed, it will not happen today; I have resumes to write and that is my priority.

As I began writing, my mind was still lingering on the organization aspect and that is when the connection hit me:  if you use the rules of organization to organize your resume you can organize your job search, career growth and business success.

Your resume is the foundation of your job search.  It drives everything from your LinkedIn profile, interviewing and networking.

A good business bio does the same thing for your business in defining your LinkedIn profile, networking, customer communications and growth.  From here on out I will use the word resume, but keep in mind this applies to business owners and their own communication pieces.

5 General Rules of Organizing:

1. Purge

Most every aspect of our life falls in the 80/20 rule.  Focus on the 20.

Resume

For the position you seek or the career you desire you must first understand what is important in that role.  What are the skills, value and qualifications that are important for your success and that are valued by the organization?  This is your 20% focus for 80% of your resume.

2. Decide

Right here right now.  For each item ask, “Do I love it? Do I use it?”  If you answer no then get rid of it.

Resume

For each statement, sentence, area of expertise item and bullet point ask, “Do I love it? Do I use it?”  The love it part is actually does it love me?  Does this item support you in demonstrating yourself as the best candidate?  Does it speak to what is important to the position or company?  If you answer no then get rid of it.

3. Remove

Be ruthless and bag or box any unloved or unused item and donate, sell or trash.

Resume

All those miscellaneous items clogging up your resume that do not support you in the role you want – trash them.  Do not waste the reader’s time with minutia, you want them to focus on the specific points of your value and overall skill set.

4. Use a System

Group like items, make it easy to see and find what you are looking for  – i.e. in the garage or shed keep all the gardening tools together and in partnership with what you use together.  Pots, trowels, potting mix etc. Labeling shelving and boxes make for quicker and easier identification.

Resume

Your system is to write toward the job you want rather than giving a cliff notes version of the jobs you have had.  Under each position group like items, make it easy to for the reader to find what they are looking for, possibly use subtitles and emphasize key words for easier identification.

5. Maintain Focus

The driving force is the goal of organization, not each item individually.  Focus on the overall goal and let go of the overwhelming desire to let the emotional attachment of each item drive your progress.

Resume

Focus on the overall goal of your next position and let go of the overwhelming desire to emotionally beat yourself up on past mistakes, poor position choices and seemingly unrelated career history.

Write your resume looking forward, not back.  What, in those past positions, helped you in any way for that next job?  What type of skills or lessons were learned and how can you apply them?  There is a thread there; it is your job to find it in order to present it to the reader so they understand.

Once you have taken the time to organize your resume and get rid of all that unwanted clutter then take a break.  Come back to it with a relaxed attitude.  What you will now see is a framework that fully supports you.  Now, you can start tweaking it and putting in the final touches that bring it all together.

With a clean, fresh resume you can confidently – and strategically – organize and implement your LinkedIn profile, networking, elevator speech, interviewing and career search or advancement.

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer

http://www.CareerPolish.com

 

 

Organize Your Resume to Organize Your Mind

organized closet

I am an organizational junkie.  I love reading, watching and listening to anything about organization; from the garage, kitchen, closets, office – any organizational tip I can find I read it or watch it with excitement.

 

I guess I am hoping one day all those shows, videos, books, articles and tidbits will magically sink in and make me organized!  I have a bit of dual personality when it comes to organization.  In my work I am laser-focused organized.  In my home – that is a different story.  Let’s just say it is a work in progress.

 

But I am hopeful and vigilant.  This weekend I tackled my bedroom closet.  I kept in mind some of the basic rules of organizing:

 

Purge:  Most every aspect of our life falls in the 80/20 rule.  Focus on the 20.

 

Decide: Right here right now.  For each item ask, “Do I love it? Do I use it?”  If you answer no then get rid of it.

 

Remove:  Be ruthless and bag or box any unloved or unused item and donate, sell or trash.

 

System:  Have a system in place.  Group like items, make it easy to see and find what you are looking for and if there are items that need attention be honest if you are actually going to give them that attention and if so then set a specific location for them to keep them all together.

 

Focus:  The driving force is the goal, not each item.  Focus on the overall goal and let go of the overwhelming desire to let the emotional attachment of each item drive your progress.

 

I will have to say my closet is looking pretty darn good.  I have sections that make sense to me, function, a lot of cloths to donate and a lot more breathing room in there.  I’m not completely done because now that it is starting to work for me I realize there are some more tweaks I need to do to make it a space I love.

 

This morning starting my day was much less stressful.  I could see everything clearly, decide quickly what I wanted to wear today and was able to get ready in much less time.  Total win for a Monday!

 

Maybe it was this new found freedom of stress that helped me realize an a-ha moment: these same rules apply to resumes, too.

 

I’ve said it before and I will say it many times again: your resume is the foundation of your job search.  It drives everything from your LinkedIn profile, interviewing, networking and job searching.  A good business bio does the same thing for your business in defining your LinkedIn profile, networking, customer communications and growth.  From here on out I will use the word resume, but keep in mind this applies to business owners and their own communication pieces.

 

If your resume is an unorganized mess than that is the impression you are giving the world.  Let’s use the same organizational rules to help tweak your resume without feeling overwhelmed:

 

Purge:  Let’s revisit that 80/20 rule.  For the position you seek or the career you desire you must first understand what is important in that role.  Then use that as the 20% to focus on with 80% of your resume.

 

Decide: Right here right now.  For each position, sentence, area of expertise item and bullet point ask, “Do I love it? Do I use it?”  The love it part is actually does it love me?  Does this item support you in demonstrating yourself as the best candidate?  If you answer no then get rid of it.

 

Remove:  All those miscellaneous items clogging up your resume that do not support you in the role you want – trash them.  Don’t waste the reader’s time with minutia when you want them to focus on the specific points of your value and overall skill set.

 

System:  Have a system in place.  Write toward the job you want rather than giving a cliff notes version of the jobs you have had.  Under each position group like items, make it easy to for the reader to find what they are looking for.  As for those items that need attention be honest if you are actually going to give them that attention and if not do not include them.

 

For example if you are barely functional on Word or Excel; first do not put that you are proficient because you would be lying.  Second, if you know you have a weakness with them are you going to go take a free class to brush up on your skills?  Great, leave it in; if not, take it out or else an interviewer is free to ask you about it and that could be a negative point if it was an unattended item.

 

Focus:  The driving force is the next position, not your past.  Focus on the overall goal and let go of the overwhelming desire to emotionally beat yourself up on past mistakes, poor position choices and seemingly unexplainable career history.

 

Again, write your resume looking forward, not back.  What in those past positions helped you in any way for that next job?  What type of skills or lessons were learned and how can you apply them?  There is a thread there; it is your job to find it in order to present it to the reader so they understand.  Putting it bluntly: if you can’t figure it out how on earth are they supposed to?

 

 

Once you have taken the time to organize your resume and get rid of all that unwanted clutter then take a break.  Come back to it with a relaxed attitude because what you are left with is what will fully support you.  Then you can start tweaking it and putting in the final touches that bring it all together.

 

With a clean, fresh resume you can confidently – and strategically – organize and implement your LinkedIn profile, networking, elevator speech, interviewing and career search.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

www.CareerPolish.com

 

I Can’t Take One Step at a Time I Have a Marathon To Race Here!

drowning-in-messy-deskMy name is Lisa and I’m an unorganized organizational junky.

I am a freak about organization, I love watching videos about it, reading books, getting tips, listening to all the wonderful ways to completely organize your work, files, bills, food, house, kids, pets, life – anything you can lay your eyes on you can organize it. Love it!

Then add to that the practice of feng shui – total junkie. The removal of clutter, the balancing of all the elements, the peace, serenity, positive environment – just makes me all giddy inside.

Don’t do it, but I love it.

That is where the unorganized comes in. I get the process, understand the concepts and love the final look but to actually put that stuff in place – yeah, hasn’t happened.

Because I am completely overwhelmed by the most important step – getting started.

My problem is that I get all hyped up on feng shui ideas and organizational zest then I look up and see the room, closet, cabinet or whatever is right in front of me. And that is where the fun starts.

Let’s just take one example: my yard. Right now I could give the Clampetts a run for their money. I have weeds that are loving my flower beds, dandelions that are growing better than the grass, and mulch that has seen better days. That is just the front yard. The back is a total and absolute disaster.

I need to mow. My mower is still broken so I had to borrow my ex’s mower last night to mow today. I have to mow today because he wants it back tonight. That helps. But then there is the weed problem. I want to make the homemade weed killer that is not dangerous for animals – besides my pack running crazy in the back yard I have a whole host of critters visiting the front.

To make the homemade weed killer I have to make sure I have the right vinegar. Will any vinegar do, what is the right combination, now I will have to do some more research on the internet. To do that I need to find a notebook to take notes. Once I find the notebook I have to clean off my desk so I have room to write. Once I get the right formula and ingredients I need to find the sprayer.

But to do that I have to clean out the garage. To clean out the garage I need to get my car out of there. Once I get the car out then I have to empty everything out of the garage so I can figure out what is in there and what I can remove. Hoffa is probably in there somewhere for all I know.

To clean out the garage I also need to get heavy duty trash bags. I need to go to the store. If I go to the store I also need to get a weed eater. I have to use that in the back before I can cut because it is so high there is risk of killing the ex’s new lawnmower and that would not make him happy. Before I run to the store I need to clean out my car so I can fit stuff in my car.

Do you see what a horrible cycle this is? Don’t even get me started on doing spring clean laundry and not being able to because I have to find the ladder to take it outside to clean out the birds next in the vent and go to the store to buy a contraption that is bird proof to keep them out of my vent. And the guilt of what if there are already babies in there? Would I be killing them? Wouldn’t that be bad karma? Wouldn’t I be running the risk of getting pecked to death by angry mommmy birds just for wanting to do laundry???

It is exhausting in my head.

But I know it starts with a step. Step one: cut the front grass. I have to return a lawnmower.

Having a deadline or demand helps take that one step.

All of the above holds true for writing your resume. Wanting to update the whole thing, not knowing where to start, how to make it all flow, what information to use, what not to use, how to communicate, how long should it be – it is an overwhelming process.

Normally a resume does not get done until someone asks for it. Then the words (or something similar) “oh crap” immediately come to mind. Now you have to get it done.

Breathe.

Before that deadline comes up – just take it one step – or section – at a time.

Start with one job. Go back and write everything you did at that job. I don’t care if it is relevant or not, just write it down. The more you write the more you will remember. Write it in your own words, don’t try to write “resume” language, it will only frustrate you.

Once you have it in your own words then you can go back and edit, revise and tweak. Think about what is important to the next step you are trying to achieve. What is important to them, what do they need and how do you meet that need?

Then you can go to another job. Do the same process. Start with getting it all out of your head, then you can go back and modify.

Then you can move on to the opening statement. Now that you have completed all the jobs you have found the rhythm and important selling points of you. This is the time to start putting together clear, concise statements that outline and support what you have already written.

Once you have done that then you can go back and make it pretty. Picking fonts, bullet points etc to create a visual aspect that you like.

Approaching it one step at a time, one baby step at a time, will help you be able to put all the pieces together to have your resume ready for when you really need it.

Now it is time to take my own advice. Time to go cut the front grass. Oh crap, my neighbor is cutting his, time to do the mow of shame….

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
http://www.CareerPolish.com