Tick tock — don't waste precious job-search time.

When searching for a job, time is of the essence. The average job search takes five months; that means five months of stress, nervousness, and financial insecurity. Every day counts, so speeding up the process — even incrementally — is meaningful.

The job-search step that likely takes the most time is writing your resume. Between researching what a “good” resume really is and sitting at your computer trying to draft one, you can find yourself working for days (even weeks!) before sending in an application. Luckily, there are a few ways you can accelerate this process.

Keep a brag book while employed

Picture this: It's the start of your job search and you're ready to update your resume. But suddenly, you can't think of anything to write. You know you've done impressive work at your past jobs, but you can't remember anything beyond day-to-day tasks.

When the clock is ticking, the last thing you want is to come up blank. And with the content of your resume being key to grabbing a hiring manager's attention, you can't rely on filler or fluff — you need the absolute highlights of your career.

The best way to ensure you're prepared for a quick resume update is to track your accomplishments at work through a brag book. Whenever something noteworthy happens in your career, write it down so you don't forget it. Led a team to success? Finished a project early and under budget? Broke a record? Write them all down. These are the details that excite employers. Keep track of them as they happen so you'll have a reference when it's time to write your resume.

Understand the rules of resume writing

Now that you have your brag book, you know what to say on your resume. But do you know how to say it? The rules of resume writing are complex — amorphous, even. Questionable formats, applicant tracking systems, “achiever” language — it's hard to understand it all. When you're in the rush of a job search, you simply don't have time to scour the internet for templates and guidance. After all, every day you spend conducting research is a day without a paycheck.

The time to learn about resumes isn't during the job search — it's while you're comfortably employed. Before the pressure is on, take advantage of the internet's infinite information. There are endless resources out there, including TopResume's career advice blog that features articles by Amanda Augustine, a certified professional resume writer and our in-house expert.

To go one step further, you can get a free resume critique for personalized feedback on your document. This will tell you exactly where your resume excels and where it falls short, and you can use that information to speed up (and improve) your writing process.

Hire a pro to do it for you

Of course, a job search is more than just the resume; there are applications to fill out, cover letters to write, networking to be done, and interviews to prepare for. Therefore, one of the ways you can speed up the writing process is to eliminate it from your already-long to-do list and outsource the task to an expert resume writer.

By working with a resume-writing professional from TopResume, you'll save yourself both time and frustration. With one worksheet and a bit of correspondence, you'll receive a resume that tells your career story at its best. Plus, your resume will be poised to beat applicant tracking systems and earn you more. Meanwhile, you can spend your time on other important tasks, and your resume will be stronger than if you had written it yourself. Win-win.

Conclusion

The clock is ticking on your job search, and there's no time to waste on trying to write your own resume. You can keep track of your achievements and teach yourself the resume-writing ropes, but in the end, working with a professional writer is the best way to ensure you use your time effectively. Once you're armed with a resume that's proven to impress, you won't just land a job — you'll land it quickly.

Ready to speed up your job search? Enlist the help of a resume-writing expert.

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