The ultimate resume tip: take a break!

January 23rd, 2013 | Articles, Job Search, Resume | No Comments »

When you get stressed out by resume writing, the best remedy may be to take a break. By turning to these activities, you can get your brain power up and return to your work with a clear perspective.

Have you ever been so focused on completing a project that your thoughts become an abstract puzzle you just can’t decipher? Have you ever stared at the gibberish you’ve written without seeing a logical message in sight? Sometimes, your resume & cover letter writing can come to a halt when what you intended to be an eye-catching document dissolves into nothing more than an infuriating series of false starts. You may glare at your computer screen and scream, “What am I doing wrong?” The answer may ultimately be that you’re trying too hard.


When you run afoul of an impassable case of writer’s block, your forward progress is best served when you don’t try to break the block by force of will. Sometimes, like a Magic Eye poster, the best approach is to relax your focus and allow yourself to freely see what was there all along. Temporarily diverting your attention from the problem can provide you with much needed clarity and help you to generate an outside the box solution. So, when you need to relax your mind enough to spot that critical epiphany, step back and renew your energies with one of these rewarding activities.

Exercise: Simple exercise is the best way to increase your mental abilities when you feel stuck. Countless studies have proven that physical fitness can increase your brain power more than rigorous study, mental stimulation, or highly nutritional diet. The increased heart rate and augmented blood flow to the brain helps to enrich intellect, boost problem solving skills, and jump start neurogenesis: the creation of new memory-holding neurons within the brain. So, if you need to give yourself a fresh jolt of much needed mental vigor, go for a quick jog or swim.

Eat a nutritional snack: Proper vitamins and minerals are necessary for your brain to function at more than just an idling level. When you are writing your resume, you can’t afford to run on fumes or the inferior fuel provided by processed, sugary snacks. You need snacks that offer a long, sustainable mental boost: antioxidant rich foods like berries, cherries, peaches, an walnuts. If you’re thirsty, opt for green tea; human memory & cognition both see a discernible boost after a glass of this healthy beverage.

Update your LinkedIn profile: You can simultaneously enhance one of your best networking tools while keeping your brain near to the challenge of resume writing. By reviewing what you’ve already written about your talents, experience, & achievements, you can build up mental fodder for when you finally return to the act of writing. Remember, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel with each application; you just have to customize it to fit the position.

Solve a mental puzzle: Crosswords, sudokus, and other mental puzzles are great ways to keep your brain active while diverting your attention from the problem at hand. Focusing your problem solving skills on a relaxing challenge can give you new perspectives and tactics when you do return to the table. Who knows? A word or phrase in a crossword puzzle might even give you the very spark needed to blast through your mental wall.

Take a quick nap: Sometimes when you are overloaded with information, taking a nap can allow your brain to catch up & process what you’ve already absorbed. A wandering mind, transitioning between sleep & rest, can generate incredible solutions that would have otherwise been trapped in your subconscious well outside your reach. If you’re skeptical about this option, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, and JFK were all avid nappers. So, don’t automatically rule it out.

You may have your own approach to breaking your mental block, so try to be creative with your solutions. The only proviso is that you don’t fall victim to television, social networking sites, or aimless web searches; these types of activities allow you to vegetate, siphoning off your creativity. So, keep your brain active while you take a break from resume writing, and you’ll return with new ideas that might just provide you with the breakthrough needed for eye-catching success.

by James Walsh