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How to Start Writing Your Resume: Ask the Right Questions

Paul Freiberger who runs a resume writing service wrote this article.  This article describes various tactics that you can use to get your prospective employer's attention.

If you hire a professional resume writer to help you – and I’m not suggesting that you should. That would be far too self-serving, but you would probably come away with a document that can help you open doors.  On the other hand, f you write it yourself, you could benefit from asking yourself some tough questions that may help you gain a better understanding of yourself and the role that a job plays in your life.

This is an article about asking yourself important questions, as you write a resume and search for a job. These processes are difficult but they are valuable opportunities for self-reflection.

What Do You Want to Do?

The ideal job for one person is agony for the next. If you don’t enjoy your work, you’re wasting your life. Though many people may not savor their jobs, you don’t have to join them. In fact:

1. They may not be trying hard enough. They may have wound up in a position they merely tolerate because they never made a real effort to do better. The check pays the bills, job momentum consumes their time and energy, and even though they know they can do better, they never do. The years go by and life slips past.

2. They may be unable to do exactly what they like. Not everyone can be a professional marine biologist, for instance. But that doesn’t mean you have to flip burgers. You can always find work that comes closer to your ideal. And you can explore professions. The variety of positions seems infinite and you can learn about them, or go entrepreneurial and create your own.

3. They may not quite know what they like. People can end up channeled into careers without ever quite consulting what they really want to do. Often they’ll take a job just because they like the pay or prestige. Pay and prestige are important, but they aren’t everything. To get a better bead on what you really like, ask yourself:

     •    What are my passions? What work would I do if I didn’t need to earn a living? What issues do I care deeply about? What skills do I love using?

     •    Who am I? Do I like to follow or lead? Do I work better with others or independently? Is supervision help or a harness?

     •    Do I fear risk or love a challenge? Would I be more comfortable as a team member or an entrepreneur?

What Do You Want the Position to Do for You?

It’s one thing to know what you want to do and another to know what you want your job to do for you. Look at yourself, your career, and your goals. Your goals may well have changed in say, the past ten years ago. Ask yourself:

• How much money do I need or want?
• How much power and responsibility do I need or want?
• How much do I like playing a role in important, high-adrenalin events?
• How much organizational pressure do I want? How structured an environment?
• Do I prefer a large organization or a small one? A well-known one or a small but promising one?
• Is a legacy important to me? If so, have I positioned myself for it? How do I go about leaving change that others will benefit from?

What Can I Do?

Suppose you want to learn juggling. You try to juggle three balls and find you can’t do it. Do you give up, fearing the message of all those dropped balls, or persist through repeated failures to learn the art? In fact, no one can juggle three balls on the first try. Yet almost everyone can learn juggling. It just takes a willingness to aim a little higher and persist.

People tend to underestimate what they can accomplish. They fear failure from attempting feats that may be beyond them, and so focus on tasks they know they can achieve. It can be a terrible error, a source of the biggest failure of all.

Aim high and you may miss more often, but when you hit, you’ll achieve things that lowballers never do. No one ranks your success in life by the percentage of goals you reach. Imagine a minor leaguer who’s hitting .357 but refuses to go up to big leagues because his batting average could drop. Success comes in absolutes: How high are the goals you’ve achieved? Can you play in the big leagues at all?

Of courseFind Article, don’t be unrealistic. Don’t strive for a Nobel Prize in physics if you have trouble understanding quadratic equations. But aim higher than you think you can reach. You’ll find your quest feels sweeter and your life more energized. And you may even succeed.

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Paul Freiberger is President of Shimmering Resumes, a resume-writing and career counseling service based in San Mateo, California. Paul is the author of several books and the winner of the Los Angeles Times book award. He can be reached at:, or, by phone at 877-796-9737. You can visit his website at He also publishes a blog with more regular and entertaining advice at

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