I get asked all the time what are the essentials for the job search. What are the job search must haves? Do I need a resume updated? Do I really need a cover letter and LinkedIn profile? The answer to all of that is yes. To get ahead in your career you need to make sure you stand out professionally both online and off. Your personal branding is a big deal. Make sure to have the below sorted and you will be one step ahead of your competition.

The Resume Formula

Like most things, there isn’t one, specific series of steps to achieve that masterful page. However, through time, and experience, I have determined two important things to consider before, during and after completing each document.

  1. Sell Your Potential: Take a moment to think about this document’s title. If Hiring Managers allot 15 seconds per candidate, your unique assets must be presented clearly, memorably…and fast!
  2. Use Your Background: It is crucial to not only consider your previous roles, but the current task at hand. Look at job descriptions and compare them directly to your background; now you can write with particular hiring relevance.

These two essentials, combined with passion and expertise, will guarantee an excellent series of documents to get you started on the career path of your dreams! Stumped on what to write? You can always use my all time favorite list of words to use on a resume.

Below are other important items you will want to makesure are updated and job ready.

LinkedIn Profiles: There are multiple benefits to having an online presence aligned with paper resumes. To potential employers, this conveys cohesion, focus, and motivation. It shows you are serious about your job search, and additionally understand marketing, networking and online career development techniques.

Cover Letter (aka Letter of Introduction, etc.): This is another essential document. It shows recruiters your interest and qualifications from the get-go…if written correctly, that is. Cover letters must be short and to the point, but contain enough detail to intrigue the reader, assuring a glance at your resume and drastically heighten odds of an interview.

Though it is preferable to customize cover letters to each position, having a general template on-hand is a great tool for the job seeker’s arsenal. Speaking generally of your skills and accomplishments will allow use in a multitude of spontaneous circumstances.

Thank Yous: As necessary as the Cover Letter is a thank you note. In addition to being polite, this has an underlying strategy of reaffirming your interest while being polite and courteous. It also demonstrates follow-up skills and communication – assets always looked for by hiring authorities.

Like Cover Letters, providing interview-specific details is always an excellent way to make a lasting impression. However, just having a generic Thank You Letter is a wonderful way to increase your professional appearance.

As a side note- get your references ready. You WILL be asked for them. Do not make the recruiter wait. Have your reference sheet available as soon as you provide them your resume- but only send it when asked for.

A Few More Things…

Keep it succinct. Even though this page is about you, focus on prospective employer’s needs and not your ego. Don’t intimidate with a novel; instead present relevant, notable achievements on the page (you can fill them in on the rest at the interview.)

If you have hired people in the past, what about those experiences was particularly memorable? Take a moment to reflect on this, and show your future value through today’s preparations.

These things are all doable, but the cherry on the sundae is something often missing from the conventional resume – intangible qualities; unique skills and talents that set you apart from the rest. Through discussion and analysis of all things you, it is imperative that you incorporate your accomplishments and achievements with these immeasurable, special details in concise-yet-artful writing. A bit of added flair can be the difference between an interview scheduling phone call…or the resume discarding paper shredder.


All My Best,

Francesca, Your Resume Expert

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