Resume Refinement Process – Major Steps

Resume&Cover Letter Review&Refinement

3 characteristics of an effective resume writing process

  • Independent professional analysis combined with inputs from candidate
    →  Phone or face-to-face brainstorming – to explore and refine understanding of prior experience and goals.

  • Follow-up discussion to probe specific areas + identify improvement strategies
    →   To help you dig deeper to assess and properly articulate all relevant accomplishments, skills, strengths

  • Focus on genuine improvement – not window dressing
    →   Credibility and authenticity lead to long-term results. Only AFTER solid content, does styling play a role.

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Resume Review Process – Basics


Turnaround is 5-7 days for standard processing.  If you are facing an urgent situation and need to apply for a job on short notice, an expedited 1-2 day turnaround can be arranged with a premium processing fee.

To Start

To begin the process, you will need to send in an electronic (pdf) version of your current resume (even a rough / unpolished version will do). Also a few paragraphs with a description of your goals, prior challenges faced (if any), current professional environment, and targeted positions. For the last item, please find the top 3 job postings that reflect the type of position you are aiming for.

For those applying for different types of jobs, e.g. as a Product Manager in a Silicon Valley software company, and as an Adjunct Professor (part time) at a Bay Area university, you will obviously need 2 sets of resumes and cover letters – which will need to be developed separately.


You will need to make the payment online in full to initiate the resume review process.  This is non-refundable as the time spent in going over your existing materials, followed by the research, review and markup of your resume are activities where the effort is spent upfront when you initiate and authorize the work with your payment.  This also ensures that I give you honest and objective feedback about your resume (good or bad!) without worrying about payment issues.  Thanks for your understanding.




Review Process – STEPS

The process generally follows the steps outlined below. For best results, the approach is tailored for each person’s unique situation and goals, based on our initial and follow-up discussions.

  • Step 1 :: Review Prep
    • 1-1 ::  Gathering of initial Inputs
    • 1-2 :: Professional critique – initial pass
  • Step 2 :: Resume & Cover Letter Review
    • 2-1 ::  Discussion & brainstorming
    • 2-2 ::  Professional critique – marked up resume / CL
  • Step 3 :: Resume refinement
    • 3-1 ::  Content updates and additions







Step 1-1 ::  Gathering of key inputs

Resume development and refinement starts with an examination of your current resume and your job search goals. The current resume can be in a rough / unpolished form, but it contains the factual details of your prior work history, experience, accomplishments. An actual cover letter or a rough draft provides additional clues about your communication style, perspective, and current level of skill and effort. These inputs help to identify the nature and scale of improvement that fits your situation.

The best way to communicate job search goals is to go beyond titles to find a few real job postings that get you excited and motivated. Resumes and cover letters need to be developed with a particular type of job in mind.  Thus, to ensure that you get the maximum benefit and value-for-money that you deserve, it is highly recommended that you spend some time looking for job postings that interest you, and then select the top 3 (no more, no less!) that come closest to the dream job you are targeting.

Apart from these items, a hearty discussion led by the coach can help the applicant verbalize their aspirations, concerns, self-assessments (strengths and weaknesses). These are critical in providing direction, generating ideas, and enriching the final outputs of this process.


Step 1-2 ::  Professional critique – initial pass

Thorough Resume Assessment from multiple angles.

The professional review starts with a detailed analysis of your resume and cover letter to identify issues and improvement ideas from a variety of perspectives – applying professional knowledge & judgment honed from years of solid experience.

Your resume is a marketing tool to highlight the winning features of the product (i.e. you) and the benefits / value you bring to the table. Then there is the competitive analysis angle – how to make your resume and cover letter stand out from other candidates’ applications.  Thus, a marketing perspective and expertise is vital to this process – along with other skills in business writing and online communications.

Resume and cover letter review dimensions:

  • Content (skills, strengths, qualifications, experience, other credentials)
  • Language / Grammar
  • Writing Style / Tone
  • Visual Style / Presentation
  • Structure
  • Keywords & SEO*
  • Overall Clarity, Credibility, and Impact

* SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques to improve  your resume’s visibility in widely used automated screening in HR applicant processing systems & online job application sites.


Step 2-1 ::  Discussion & brainstorming

After the initial assessment (first pass) based on the initial inputs outlined above, the coach has a better understanding of the candidate – as well as a list of follow-up questions to get more information or clarity. The first pass also stimulates ideas about opportunities for major improvements which need to be discussed in greater detail.


Step 2-2 ::  Professional critique – final pass

Marked-up Resume and Cover Letter – with specific feedback.

Based on the inputs and ideas from the follow-up discussion, the resume critique is finalized. You will get a marked up version of your existing professional resume – with callouts identifying specific issues, errors, opportunities for improvement along any of the above dimensions.


Step 3-1 ::  Resume refinement

Content updates, enhancements, and ADDITIONS

For improvements, and especially additions, to your resume content, we will need to schedule one or more brainstorming sessions (1 hour call or meeting). During these conversations, I will help you review specific areas of your past experience to identify transferable skills – and the best ways to present & summarize your accomplishments.

This is where  wide corporate experience and an independent perspective becomes invaluable.  Sometimes we are too close to our work (and the structure / content of our previous resume!) to see our job/s and the demonstrated skills from a fresh perspective.  The key to success here is to view (and articulate) things from the perspective of your future job / employer rather than your past job / previous employers.


Recap: Resume Improvement – Value and Impact

Whether you are a new college graduate or an experienced candidate applying for a job with better prospects, better pay, or a better fit with your skills, interests, and career goals – the best way to get started is with a professional review of your current resume and cover letter.

A competent and objective review that will identify strengths and weaknesses, as well as gaps and opportunities for improvement.

Getting an independent resume review is the foundational step towards creating a solid resume.  With the insights and feedback from this step, you can build a greatly improved resume that effectively presents your skills, talents, and accomplishments – and highlights the fit with your desired jobs.


Get started today

To get started on this vital step towards your new job, please write to me with a brief outline of your goals, current situation, target job / dream job, and have a PDF copy of your current resume ready for e-mailing.  I will get in touch shortly via e-mail with additional details.





Job search coach / Resume critic & writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Serving the major cities in Silicon Valley – with a greater focus on the South Bay, East Bay, and Peninsula areas.

Primary focus on the high-tech / IT industry, spanning business roles (product management, marketing, finance, business development, general management) as well as technical / software development / IT specialist roles.  From new grads, entry-level, to senior management roles.