By Laura DeCarlo

Making data gathering for your resume writing easy involves starting with the right information in front of you. That way you don’t get stuck staring at a blank screen. Before you sit down to write, take the time to gather the following:

  • Resumes: Gather any resumes you have written in the past ten years.

  • Employment records: Collect any written evaluations, job descriptions, or other previous employment records.

  • Training records: Certificates or lists of training, continuing education, degrees, and licenses.

  • Recommendations: Letters of recommendations, thank-you letters/emails/cards from bosses, customers, or other related persons.

  • Projects: Copies of any major projects or abstracts/details about them.

  • Awards: Copies of any awards received professionally or personally.

  • Publications: List of any publications written such as books or articles.

  • Presentations: List presentations made, topics, and where presented.

  • Affiliations: Create a list of all voluntary roles held (business, board level, social, civic, academic). Be sure to gather any details, such as recognitions or awards received, projects chaired and outcomes, hours contributed, and so on.

  • For new graduates or those with a new major certification that is the job target: Major course textbooks or material, course syllabi, and school’s course descriptions (usually in the catalog).

Some of this data may require you to do a little thinking and a little free writing where you brainstorm on paper or directly into a document on your computer. That’s okay. Get your lists and data together now so you can refer to them when you’re ready to begin compiling your data into a single document of noteworthy information.

Although you can start manually on paper with the next steps of pulling out the data you need from the documents you have gathered or created, it will be much easier if you have access to a computer with word processing software. Most employers accept and prefer Microsoft Word documents, so this is what you should build your document in.

You don’t have to rely on trying to jump between multiple documents saved on your computer. Take the time to print out all your documentation so you have it at your fingertips. This will make getting the information you need much quicker and easier.