Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Keys to Meeting Client Project Deadlines

One of the most important parts of being a resume writer is meeting client deadlines. When the major "deliverable" that clients receive is the resume (or LinkedIn profile), their anticipation of receiving the draft is very high.

Here's some ideas:

  • Set Realistic Deadlines. The fastest killer of a deadline is overestimating what you can do and how fast you can do it. Always work in a cushion to your deadlines just in case something happens; that way you can avoid stress when trying to meet deadlines.

  • Set Deadlines in Stone. Once you set a deadline, tell yourself it is set in stone and you must meet it or beat it. Since you put in a cushion before setting the deadline, that means that you should be able to get done before the deadline — if all goes as planned.

  • Plan and Organize Efficiently. Part of setting deadlines is learning to plan and organize efficiently. Set up a system of organization that you do for every resume project. Having systems in place eliminates the problem of forgetting any aspect of your project. (That includes the finalization process — i.e., a checklist where you remind yourself to remove the information in the Properties in Word, for example.)

  • Use a Calendar. No one can do anything online without a calendar. Today online calendars can sync with your smartphones so that there is no reason to forget anything. Train yourself to look at your calendar every evening and every morning so that you avoid forgetting anything. Do not rely on your memory.

  • Communicate Deadlines to Team Members. If you work with subcontract resume writers, it's crucial that you communicate deadlines to them in a way that they understand the importance of the deadlines.

  • Do the Most Productive Thing First. If you are not sure where to start, and you can identify items that aren't order sensitive, then you can start right on them. Sometimes just getting something done can unleash more creativity.

  • Baby Steps. Break up all the work into small, bite-sized pieces that you can do a little at a time that will ensure that you meet your deadlines. Setting smaller deadlines throughout the project will also help. (By noon, I will write the "Work Experience" and "Education" sections. By 3 p.m., I will write the Qualifications Profile.")

  • Start at the End. Sometimes it's easiest to start writing the resume from the bottom-up. This usually means starting with Professional Affiliations, Publications, or Education and then working your way up to the Experience section, with the Qualifications Profile being written last. 

  • Plan Ahead. The first thing you should do for any project is to make plans ahead of time to get the things done that need to be done. They say that failing to plan is planning to fail and nothing can be truer than when it comes to project management (and resume writing). So if you need to write a cover letter, resume, LinkedIn profile, and bio, decide what order you're going to write them in BEFORE you start. Believe it or not: Taking time to plan will actually SAVE you time overall.

If you really want to beat client deadlines for the resumes you write, it requires organization, planning, and dedication to be self-disciplined enough to follow the plan you created for yourself to meet your goals. It all starts, of course, with that realistic deadline, and advanced planning. A good project management system doesn't hurt either.

Want more tips on this topic? Check out my special report on how to "Write Great Resumes Faster."

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