istock_000002137707xsmallTransitions are difficult for job hunters and career changers. You often fret about getting things right and defining what is the most important thing to get done first. Frustration and confusion sets in early, especially when everyone you ask has an opinion…and it is different.

More often than not, the resume rises to the top because it is your calling card or introduction to a potential company or recruiter. Without a strong resume, you can’t get that coveted interview … right?

The resume is easy to fix or tweak quickly. But you’ll soon realize that everyone has an opinion especially when you ask people who are not professional resume writers.

When I look at the resume, it sometimes become obvious why you are not getting contacted for jobs. It is quite simple – your resume fails to tell your story or to peak the interviewer’s interest. More time and attention has been spent on wordsmithing than being clear about who you are, what you want, what you have to offer and why you are the best person for that particular job.

Once you become clear about who, what and why – you narrow the job choices. You focus your efforts on jobs that meet your criteria instead of applying to everything that remotely sounds like you.

You have probably heard some advice about casting a wide net; I recommend a narrow net provided you are clear about who, what and why. Too much time is wasted chasing job opportunities that are not a good fit personally or professionally.

So, let’s get back to the who, what and why. At first you may say, I know who I am and what I want. If that is true – is it reflected in your resume and actions? Or do you find that you are schizophrenic in your approach? Ask someone who doesn’t know you well that will give candid feedback. No tip toeing around here.

If you are clear, anyone should be able to pick up your resume and know exactly what kind of job or career you want in life. If it is not clear, don’t worry – you are not alone.

When you go through any type of transition in your life – a loss of job, divorce, move to a new area or other significant change, take an opportunity to recreate or cast your life in a different way. Even if you are happy with your life, it is a time for reflection and reaffirmation.

Once you become clear, that’s the time to put it all down on paper.