As I pick up the phone I immediately hear the panic in their voice. “I need to update my resume. QUICK!”
That usually means one of two things for the person on the other end of the phone: They just lost their job or they have become aware of a new opportunity. Either way, it requires an immediate shift and attention to that all important document – the resume.
For many, having to update their resume is about as fun as getting your car stuck in the mud. it is frustrating. There are moments when it may seem there is no way out and the driver will typically end up irritated as their shoes stick in the mud. A moment may flash in their minds as they recall the old movies where at least one person gets caught in quicksand. Then they remember their greatest frustration is that they are stuck, most likely going to be late, and their shoes are a mess.
Updating a resume can feel a lot like getting your car stuck in the mud. However, with a few helpful thought redirects, the process can be less intimidating and very engaging.
The Three Redirects to Enjoy the Resume Writing Process
The first redirect is to realize that your resume is the time you can recall all of your accomplishments. You may think that your achievements are just average – but WAIT! If you did the work and completed the work, then you already can claim success.
One day I was participating in a 5K run/walk. I passed by a woman who was struggling a bit. Her head was down. Her face looked strained. She did not look happy and I could easily guess she wished she was anywhere but participating in this 5K adventure.
As I made my way up to her, I slowed down to match her pace. With a big smile on my face, I said, “Great job this morning! We have less than a quarter of a mile to finish!” She looked at me with her strained face and replied, “I don’t feel great about this race this morning.” I said, “Well if you look around at all these houses, most of these folks are still sleeping. You are here completing a 5K. I think that is a great accomplishment! Have a great finish!”
As I picked up my pace to move forward, She looked at me and smiled, “You are right, I showed up. I am going to finish this race. And then I can have a big breakfast to celebrate!” She had a new pep in her step. Later I saw her cross the finish line, her arms in the air with a smile on her face.
Writing the accomplishments and outcomes on a resume, when thinking about all that you have accomplished, should give you a boost to your confidence by looking at all you have done! It is the time when you can brag without someone telling you to stop bragging!
The second redirect is to think of your resume as a first date. It should share just enough information to be interesting, but leave the reader with a feeling of mystery to make them want to know more, a second date.
Rather than trying to put everything in the resume, provide those accomplishments that are of the highest value for that next job. Three or four bullets is enough to get their attention.
The third redirect is the realization of the power you hold with your resume. You decide what goes in your resume. What you put in the resume is leading the interviewer to ask questions and inquire about the story associated with each accomplishment. You drive what you want to talk about during the interview with the achievements you share. Your job is to make sure your story is clear and concise so they get the full benefit of seeing your contributions.
The Three Redirects Provide a New Lens on Resumes
We often get very busy in our daily lives and focus on moving forward. Rarely do we stop to think about our accomplishments and achievements. Writing a new resume or updating a current resume provides the time to reflect on those positive outcomes and feel good about them.
Although a first date may seem intimidating, in can be fun if you decide to keep a little mystery on your side. There is no benefit to putting everything in your resume. It can have a negative effect by creating an image of trying to overwhelm the reader.
And finally, interviewers often appear to have all the power during an interview. Next time, as they are asking you to expand on your achievements, sit back and smile. They don’t realize that you led them to exactly where you wanted them to go, purposefully, with your resume.