Today I talk about Career documents you really need. We all know the basics of launching a job search. You need a resume for sure. I say a cover letter but that’s debatable. But, what else can you do to elevate your candidacy in the job market? (Click here for video version)

Well, before we get to that. Let’s talk about the staples needed in your typical job search. The resume and yes, I am a big believer in the cover letter. So I side with all the career professionals, recruiters, and hiring managers who say they find value in the cover letter.

For the resume, you want to make sure you are not leading off with an objective statement.
If you are, you are not up to date on how to sell yourself in today’s job market. Replace the objective statement with a professional summary instead. It should have 3-5 strong sentences or statements that give a high level overview of how you your skillset can transition into the job you are applying for.

Next, make sure you are including a competency/skills section to help with keyword research.

Stay away from having this section stacked with every keyword you think you should have in order to pass through the ATS system. Remember, these still have to be ready by a human. When a human actually gets it, it can show that you are trying way too hard. When they see that, it can get tossed in the trash.

For your experience area…..

make sure you are not taking your job duties or even the exact job description in the job posting and putting it in your resume. These don’t tell your individual career story. It’s a list of tasks. And, I don’t know about most hiring managers like myself, I do not want to hire a task master. I am looking for someone who can get results. Make sure you showcase your results – both quantifiable and qualifiable – so peak the readers interest enough to call you in for an interview.

Last but not least, education, training, certifications, affiliations, etc.

List what is relevant to the job itself. If you have a CPR certification but are going for a sales job, it’s probably not relevant. Just use your training if someone passes out once you tell them the investment, lol! Just kidding.

For the cover letter, use it to speak to your worth in a way that introduces them to your career story.

See it as the trailer to the main story. I also use the cover letter to sneak in additional and relevant information I could not fit into my clients resume. It’s a great way to add extra value. This method has not failed me yet!

Now that we have the resume and cover letter down, let’s chat about other documents you can use in your job search.

Career Highlights Sheet
Recommendations One Sheet
30-60-90 Day Plan
Bonus: Reference List

A Career Highlights Sheet
Take the creme de la creme of your experience and place it on one sheet. This is great for in person meetings with potential recruiters, hiring managers, and even networking. This can separate you from the rest and add to your candidacy.

The Mini-Resume

This is a 3×5, 4×5, or even a 5×6 card that you create that gives an overview of your skills. These are great to take to networking events – career or other. It’s a lot easier to take with you instead of hauling a portfolio with your resume in it or having to send it later in an email. By presenting something like this, you automatically separate yourself from the pack. And, it’s a great conversation piece! #Score!

A Recommendations One Sheet

This is similar to a career highlights sheet. You can take a few of your recommendations from your LI profile and create a one sheet of the ones that speak to the skills, abilities, and talent the hiring manager is looking for. Imagine sitting at the interview table and you put that across the table? Score

A 30-60-90 Day Plan
This is a MUST have when you land the interview. Creating a plan to show how you would make an impact in the first 90 days on the job is a great way to separate you from the competition. Again, imagine ending an interview and you ask your questions and then launch into your closing of why you would be a great fit for the job and you give them your plan. I mean…who does that? Hardly anyone!

Reference List

Last but not least, have a reference list ready. Gone are the days where you put at the bottom of your resume “references available upon request?. How about you already have it ready to present without them having to ask.

Therefore, having to get out there to search for a job is not something we all look forward to doing. But, it’s a necessary task to land a job. My desire for you is to not just land a job but to land your dream job. And, that takes work. You put in what you want out of it. The same goes for your investment. You put in a little, you may only get a little.

Need assistance?

As always, if you need help, go to to book a 20 minute call to discuss how I can help turn you from a job applicant to a job candidate by launching a successful job search strategy. While you are there, join my team #iRock mailing list to get a free download – Dispelling the One Page Resume Myth and get news on exciting things iRock has going on.

If you are in the North Dallas area, join me on the first Tuesday of the month for my LinkedIn & Careers in Transition Meetup. Go to to sign up!

Thanks for joining me this week. I’ll see you next week, same time, same place! This is your virtual career coach signing off and know that you are smart, you are kind, and you are important. Bye for now!

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