Many clients contact us with a preconceived notion that we are able to read their minds and prepare their resumes from thin air. While we are good at extracting information, we are not THAT good; therefore, it is necessary for the client to gather some materials before starting the process of resume preparation. By having everything in one place and having gone over the materials, you are more likely to be able to not only provide us with the key information for preparing your resume, but will also be much better prepared for interviewing.
There are many documents that are helpful in the resume preparation process. The first and most common document is the old resume. Old resumes are synopses of work history and can provide easy-to-find information on employment history timelines, education, and other “listing” type information.
Another helpful set of documents are employer evaluations. Whenever you have an evaluation conducted by your supervisor, you are entitled by law to a copy of the evaluation. Many HR personnel would like you to think that such documentation is the property solely of the company but you have a right to it. Make sure you obtain and keep copies of your evaluations. Not only do they provide a written record of performance in case you ever find yourself in litigation with your employer, but they provide valuable information about projects, milestones, achievements, and other work experience that you might forget about over time. Quotes from performance evaluations, if used strategically, can be powerful additions to a resume.
Certificates of Achievement and awards are also good documents to keep. Even if you don’t frame them and hang them on an “I love me” wall, the awards are concrete proof of achievement and can lead to good content on a resume.
Designs and outlines, agenda, and class materials can also be helpful in jogging your memory concerning past projects, programs, or seminars taken or given. If you speak publicly at conferences, be sure to save a copy of the brochure where you are mentioned.
If you have ever applied for a federal position, you have been required to complete an extensive application listing all previous addresses, employers, and dates of employment. Always save a copy of the application because if you ever decide to apply again for a federal position, you will have to fill out the same application again. Having the old one to copy from saves hours of time.
Once you have all this information together, put it in a box or a notebook to save time gathering it again in the future. The resume writer will not need all of the information so don’t get fax-happy and send it all to us. There will be bits and pieces that we will need from you from all of it, though, so be prepared to go through it in search of certain facts that we need.