Get your résumé in shape

Staying in shape is good for your body and your résumé, and in both areas you want to push yourself. Just like fitness, not every approach in job-searching works for everybody. Some people do better with groups, others have personalized goals or sometimes an old routine has worn itself out. Decide which goal you want to focus on and you’ll learn how to find a job without breaking a sweat.

You’re just getting started
If you’ve been out of the job search for a while or are just getting started, begin with the basics. Most job-searching is done online now and requires a résumé that can be uploaded. Many positions require a cover letter as well. Establish a list of references you can count on for support and check in with them. Keep your job search organized by tracking the jobs you apply to in a spreadsheet document, as well as the date applied and the materials you sent. Also investigate social media tools and mobile apps that can help job seekers.

You need immediate results
Sometimes the most important factor in job-searching is how quickly a paycheck will be available. If your focus is on the money first, entry-level positions and jobs that provide on-the-job training are a good place to start. These roles are more lenient about prior experience requirements and often can lead to new career paths. If you do have prior experience and have a specialized talent, consider freelance, consultant or contract work, which gives you the power to choose your clients and salary, as well as how often you want to work.

You’re trying to bulk up your résumé
Is your résumé on the lean side? A crowded page doesn’t necessarily equal a qualified job candidate, but hiring managers do look for candidates with experience and demonstrated knowledge. Include education and relevant experience and know the importance of résumé keywords. Also look for ways to add muscle to your résumé by finding relevant volunteer opportunities, related certifications you can complete and professional associations or groups you can join. Your goal should be to create a balanced, well-rounded résumé that highlights your experience and capabilities that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

You’re trying to slim down your résumé
If your résumé has gained excessive information over the years, it may be time to cut the fat. The first step is to remove all content that’s not relevant to the job you’re applying for. If you can’t make a direct connection to how a previous role prepared you for the prospective job, it shouldn’t take up your résumé’s valuable room. Also cut out dated résumé categories like your “objective” or the inclusion of references—even the line “References available upon request.” Your goal size should be keeping your résumé to one page, as hiring managers rarely take the time to do more than skim your information and likely won’t look at a second page.

You need outside support to see progress
Having the discipline to dedicate time and effort to job-searching can be tough, and making the right contacts to find a job can be equally challenging. Sometimes outside help is the answer. If one-on-one might work better for you, consider finding a job-search mentor or working with a recruiter. These options can provide the same discipline and encouragement as working with a personal trainer, and offer equally impressive results. Also consider networking, volunteer opportunities or group workshops to make potentially beneficial connections and learn new skills.

Your old routine isn’t working and you want something new
Sometimes a dramatic change is just the answer for a stale routine. If you’re feeling burnt out from your current role or industry, a career change is worth considering. Identify your strengths and interests and strategize how you can connect your current skill set to a different industry. Try volunteering or shadowing roles that you may be interested in to find out what you do and don’t like, then start switching careers.

Just like any fitness routine, a commitment to progress and hard work will be the most successful way to see success and transform yourself. Find what approach works for you and dedicate your time to your plan. You’re sure to see impressive results.



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