How to Write Resumes That Build Confidence

By: Ruth Anderson

What's even more challenging than writing a great resume? If you're like most people, it's the action steps that come next: contacting employers and convincing them to hire YOU. Speaking persuasively about yourself requires confidence, and job seekers who feel confident are more likely to land a job.

Fortunately, the same process that can be used to develop a great resume can also be used to build confidence.

To see why, consider what it means to have job search confidence. The most confident job seekers are those who:

* Know their personal strengths and how to describe them effectively.
* Can point to accomplishments (examples of how they have used their strengths with success).
* Understand the requirements of the job and the needs of the employer.
* Have a strategy for showing how they meet those needs.

In short, confidence isn't a matter of luck or personality. You can build confidence by learning and reflecting about yourself (your strengths, skills, and accomplishments), about the employer (his or her needs, goals, and preferences), and about your own strategy for success.

The best time to build this kind of confidence is at the outset of your job search, and the best vehicle for doing so is your resume. Resume writing, when properly done, is an opportunity to learn about yourself, target the needs of the employer, and create a winning strategy.

You can develop an outstanding resume AND build the confidence to succeed by taking the following three steps:

1. Become an expert on yourself.

Reflect in detail on your past positions and projects. What specific things did you do well? (Make a list of your accomplishments.) What did it take to do those things well? (List your strengths, skills, and any special knowledge or experience that you used.)

Your past offers a wealth of information about who you have been, and who you can be on your next job.

2. Learn about the job you want and the employer who will interview you.

What are the requirements for the job, and what would it take to do that job very well? (Learn as much as you can from the company or from others with similar experience.) What is the employer likely to be concerned about, or value very highly? (Put yourself in the employer's shoes!)

The guideline is simple: resumes that don't speak to the interests of the employer are not very interesting for the employer to read.

3. Create a strategy for success and build your resume around it.

A resume is best thought of as a proposal rather than a history. It looks forward rather than backward, highlighting the information about yourself that will be of greatest interest to your future employer.

To write this kind of resume, define your strategy: know the top five things that the employer will be looking for and the top five ways that you will address them. Build the case for why the employer should hire you, making sure that you provide specific supporting details.

Finally, structure and format your resume so that it's easy for the employer to see important information, even in a thirty-second scan. Your strategy should inform all aspects of resume writing, from content to visual layout.

With these three steps complete, you will have the makings of an outstanding resume. In addition, you will have a newfound confidence: the confidence to contact employers, shine the spotlight on yourself, and highlight your strengths and accomplishments.

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Ruth Anderson helps job seekers design successful strategies and tools based on their personal strengths. Visit to learn about her comprehensive Resume Critique and unique 7-step guide: WRITE RESUMES WITH CONFIDENCE.

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