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Think You Need a Resume? Read This First!

Many executives who are in career transition, or who are just beginning to consider making a career change, tend to think first about their executive resumes. They assume that an updated executive resume is the first step in their job search, so they rush off to find a resume writer or begin updating their outdated resumes on their own. Somehow, having an updated executive resume makes them feel more confident and prepared to embark on this new, and often anxiety-provoking, journey.

While it may seem counterintuitive to some, writing a resume should actually happen much later in the process. A powerfully written executive resume can be a very valuable tool in your job search, but the resume itself is not useful unless you have first considered the following:

1.  What is your career vision?

Before you can identify target opportunities, it is important to have a clear understanding of what you want from your career. Are your long-term goals to lead a Fortune 500 company? Would you like to gain some experience in the corporate sector and then start your own business?

Your career vision influences the decisions you make at every step of your executive career. Without a clear vision and career strategy, you may float from opportunity to opportunity without ever reaching your desired level of executive career success and satisfaction.

2.  What do you specifically want to do to next?

For many executives, this is a challenging question to answer. They may have a vague sense of what they would like to do next, or they may have no idea at all. Before you update your executive resume and begin your job search, you must clarify your specific target opportunities. You or your resume writer will not be able to write your resume as powerfully and effectively without a clear target.

3.  What are your strengths and professional accomplishments?

Many executives struggle to identify their unique strengths and professional accomplishments.  Whether they suffer from a strong case of humility, or they have neglected to keep track of their contributions throughout their career, they are unclear about their value. Taking the time to reflect on all of your skills, strengths, professional accomplishments, work experience, volunteer experience, etc. will best prepare you to write a resume that powerfully positions you for your next executive career move.

Most executives, particularly in our fast-paced society, want immediate results. When they decide to make a change, they want to do it now. Unfortunately, this mindset can actually slow you down in the long run. Firstly, our highly competitive job market favors executives who are clear and focused in their job search. They know what they want and are confident that they are the right fit for their target opportunities.

Secondly, without taking the time to become clear about your career goals, you risk moving in the wrong career direction. You may find a new career opportunity, but in a few years, you will find yourself back in the same position, embarking on a new job search to find a better fit.

Take the time to consider these questions and develop a clear career strategy BEFORE writing your executive resume. If you struggle with this process, find a career expert who can help you.  By doing so, you will be making a powerful investment in your overall executive career success and satisfaction!

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