Use these tips to stay organized and sharp during your job search.

Whether you are newly unemployed or looking for a change from your current job, it's absolutely essential that you be equipped with the tools needed to learn how to create a resume and effectively manage your job search. Below are some tips for how to sharpen and refine your skills.

Make your own “non-template” template for your documents

Microsoft Word, Google Drive and other mediums offer “canned” pre-made resume templates, but these can often be identified as such from a mile away. Using a Word template or something similar is an absolute don't. Instead, craft your own template that offers a pleasing balance of whitespace and text. It's also beneficial to have matching headers and formatting across all professional documents, thus creating a consistent professional brand for yourself. Or if you need help in tackling it all, there are resume help sites and Pinterest boards dedicated to resume development and tips for how to write a resume. One of the best investments is to have a resume professionally written and formatted.

Use a calendar

It is beneficial to have a tangible copy of your schedule on hand, even if you have a great memory. Some folks prefer an old-fashioned paper planner (I recommend Moleskine's product line). Conversely, others opt to use electronic calendars such as Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook. This will aid you in keeping track of all activities happening in your life, e.g. work, family, hobbies, appointments, etc. I use a color-coded Google Calendar in my own schedule management endeavours. In doing so, I maintain various sub-calendars within my main one; each is color-labelled to represent a specific area of my life (personal, work, family…the possibilities are endless). This will also allow you to allocate time to work on your resume, writing a CV and other documents, as well as job search and craft content for your LinkedIn profile.

Create a LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is optimal for networking with professionals in your field, sharing ideas, and gaining inspiration from reputable companies. Having a well-crafted LinkedIn profile not only showcases your skills in a more detailed and comprehensive manner than can fit on a standard two-page resume, but it also demonstrates your marketing, technology and social media dexterity, which is strongly desired across multiple career sectors.

Stay organized on the go

Take the time to sync your schedule, email and contacts across all of your electronic devices. This ensures that you won't miss an important email or call, gives you easy access to contacts on the go, and guarantees communication consistency across the board. For example, while using your tablet, you'll receive an alert to get to work on a job application that's due in a few days. From there, you'll reach for your laptop and get to work! If you use a paper calendar and don't have a smartphone, find something portable and easy to take with you (some companies, such as my beloved Moleskine even make pocket-sized calendars).

Stay in touch with technology

There are a multitude of applications and programs that may aid you in your processes and help you learn how to create a resume. To de-clutter your inbox, allows you to access a comprehensive listing of all emails you're subscribed to. You can then use it to decide what stays and what goes.

For Gmail users, Boomerang is a great add-on that lets you draft emails ahead of time and schedule them to be sent later. Another email aid is IBM's Tone Analyzer. Per the tool's description, it “…uses linguistic analysis to detect emotional tones, social propensities, and writing styles in written communication.”

A service that aids writers in writing more concisely is Hemingway; this app can be downloaded to your PC or Mac for $9.99. A free ultra-spell checking service available to users is Grammarly. This may be added on as an extension to your browser and/or to MS Word so that every item you write on the web or within an open document, it undergoes a comprehensive check process that often catches errors that the browser or MS Word spellcheckers neglect.

Furthermore, if you need to send a file to a prospective employer that your computer can't support, you can use a free site called Zamzar that converts your documents into the format you need and supplies them via email. You may opt to upgrade for a fee should you find yourself needing to convert larger files or aiming to receive files more instantaneously than unpaid users.

Keep on reading!

It's invaluable as a professional in any field to stay apprised of best practices. This makes you all the more qualified as a job candidate and as a professional in your field. LinkedIn is a great place to find articles at no cost to you if you have a basic account. A simple Amazon search can yield a number of resources as well. One resource is “Resume Magic, Trade Secrets of a Professional Resume Writer” and its counterpart dedicated to cover letters; anything written by the book's author Wendy S. Enelow is a great find for developing resume content.

It is also advised to join a professional association specific to your desired career field. This allows you to have access to resources that come along with membership. Additionally, there's a free email service called BookBub that delivers a daily list of free or significantly-reduced eBook publications; you can specify the genres you prefer and it's a great way to build a library of professional development reads on a budget

Ready to write the next chapter of your career? Hire a TopResume writer today!

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