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Stop spinning your wheels trying to create the "perfect" resume

Many professionals get stuck and spin their wheels trying to create the "perfect" resume before even bothering to start searching for jobs. I've written over 1,000 resumes for clients and not one of them has ever been the "perfect" resume - because the perfect resume doesn't exist.

Firstly, there is no definitive resume format. Sure, employers tend to prefer a chronological resume over a functional resume, but I've rarely seen an employer drop a resume into the trash if it wasn't formatted in a specific way. (And if an employer is looking for a specific format, then they'll usually give you a resume template on their website.) I once had a client complain to me that he'd completely overhauled his resume more than 5 times because he'd shown it to 5 different people and was given different recommendations for how the resume should be formatted. Not once did those reviewers make suggestions on the content of his resume. They instead all focused on the format. While a clean format on a resume is important, it's not as important as the information you're trying to convey to a potential employer. As long as you have the generally accepted information (Summary, Education, and Employment) listed in your resume within clearly defined sections, then you've got all the formatting that you need.

Another reason to stop chasing the "perfect" resume is that a resume is never done. Since a resume should always be tailored toward each position, it's a constant work in progress and, as such, will never be completely "finished." Instead, think of a resume in terms of being "ready," or "not ready," for an application. If you've tailored the resume toward a position by making sure all the experience, education, and skills are relevant to that particular job, then your resume is "ready" to use in an application.

(Pro tip: Before writing your resume, find 3-4 job leads for positions that you want to apply for and for which you're a good fit. Scan the job descriptions to look for experience, responsibilities, and skills that you have. Highlight those skills and responsibilities, then while building your resume, use those highlighted skills and responsibilities to help create your resume.)

Lastly, every employer has a totally different opinion on what makes a great resume. You can't please them all. Instead, get focused on tailoring the content of your resume toward what's listed in the job description. If you're focused on simply conveying that you have the experience and skills that the employer is looking for, then you're much more likely to get an interview.

While it's good to take the time to create a clean, professional resume and tailor it toward each position before you apply, spending weeks on creating the "perfect" resume will run you the risk of missing out on applying for a position if it closes while you're perfecting your resume! Instead tailor your resume toward the job, make sure it's free of punctuation or grammatical errors, then apply.

As the saying goes, "Done is better than perfect." If you don't apply for a job because you're too caught up in making your resume perfect, then you definitely won't get the position.

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