Once you’ve invested hours (or days) in the creation of a perfect resume, it can be hard to go back to the beginning and make dramatic changes. Sometimes this difficult move is necessary, and this usually happens when you discover that you’ve left out an essential detail or under-emphasized an important skill set that your target employers need. Try not to create extra work for yourself; before you begin the writing process, take these three steps and you’ll lay the groundwork for a short, efficient job search.

1. Gather Your Previous Job Descriptions

If you still have access to them, dig out the exact titles and formal job descriptions for all of your past positions, or at least the last three professional jobs that you’ve held. Start taking notes and drafting a list of the most important and difficult things you accomplished during each tenure. Give yourself plenty of time to think this over, since there’s a strong chance you may have forgotten some of these key details.

2. Gather the Vital Data on Your Previous Employers

The names of your former companies, their addresses, and other details will come in very handy during the resume and cover letter creation process. You don’t have to submit the contact information for your references at this stage of the process just yet, but you’ll want these names and phone numbers later on, and the rest of these vital details can help you keep your resume complete and accurate.

3. Take Notes and Clarify Your Goals

Don’t aim for the job you think you can get; aim for the job you want. In order to do this, you’ll need to think carefully about your skill sets and how these skills can be used to move your career forward. Yes, you’ll need to serve your future employer and meet his or her needs, but more important, focus on serving your own needs and making your way up the ladder to your expected destination five or 10 years down the road. Once you have these things ready, you are prepared to use our Resume Builder to begin the process.

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