Don’t Fudge Your Resume, It’s Not The Movies

I’m not a car gal. Although I live with someone who is a fanatic. His dream car is a ’66 427 Ford Shelby Cobra and even had a poster of Ken Niles on his wall as a kid.

Needless to say, we saw Ford v Ferrari this past weekend. It was wonderful, I highly recommend it.

There were a couple of points he could call out that weren’t accurate. (No spoilers here) This led us to wonder, how much more was fudged or made up.

I assume there was liberty taken to make it a ‘better’ story, more compelling. I don’t know that it was needed, it was a very engrossing, entertaining story.

But that’s Hollywood, they can get away with it.

But you can’t.

Not on your resume. Not in your interviews. Not in representing yourself (your personal brand).

But I see it all too often. It’s explained with one of two excuses:

1. The ATS system is hard (I can’t get past the computer!)

It’s a screening tool, of course it’s hard. It kicks out nearly 75% of all candidates. If it were easy, what would be the point in having it? Would you want to be the person who has to sort through 300+ resumes for one job? And half of those are nowhere near qualified?

2. You have the capability (I can do it if someone would just give me the chance!)

I’m not saying that you cannot. What I am saying is just because you have the potential isn’t a valid reason to represent that you have done it. No.

 

Years ago, I interviewed a young lady for the position of a broker’s assistant. On her resume, she noted that she was proficient in Excel. When I asked her about it, she stammered then admitted, “I haven’t really used it, but I know what it is.”

Strike one.

A few moments later she stated she “isn’t very good in math.”

Forget the strikes, you’re done. When you have to put stock trades in, math is important. I need you to be good at it.

 

Here is how you can address these lacks in an honest manner:

1. If you have not done a task, take a step back and look to see what skills, tools or knowledge needed to complete the task. Give an example of using these that demonstrates value in doing so.

2. Let’s say you’re required to know ABC system but don’t know it. But you learn systems fast. State this fact with an example that demonstrates how you learned another system and put it to good use.

Notice what both of these options have in common – you have to prove it, not say it. Demonstrate value.

Bottom line, don’t fudge, fluff or smidge. It’s not worth it. You ruin  your credibility.

Ford didn’t believe Shelby just because he said so, he had to prove himself.

And prove himself he did.

 

**Photos by Merrick Morton/20th Century Fox and Bernard Cahier/Getty Images.**

 

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰
As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

 

Avoid Being An Interview Hostage-Taking Talker

I’m at the gym six days a week. I don’t consider myself a gym rat, I do what I’ve got to do to overcome the “…for/at your age….” thing.  If you are over a certain number, you know what I’m talking about:

“You look good…for your age”

“You should expect not to ______ at your age”

Screw that, I want to look good for me, not some expectation. And having a birthday this month, I don’t give a darn what the stupid number is, I’m stronger, healthier, more tone and defined than I was 20 numbers ago. So take that “for/at your age”.

This wasn’t the point of this article, just a side rant. 

Back on track: while I’m at the gym, I don’t talk. I’m not a mean person, I’m not a rude person. I like to do my thing and really, I don’t want people coming that close. I mean, c’mon, I’m there sweating – gyms are not full of pleasant aromas.

Anyway, I’m at the gym this morning on the treadmill, Boo doing his weights and I noticed as soon as he stepped up to a machine, he got the attention of a talker.

If you’re a gym person, do you have one of these at your gym – the person who starts talking and won’t let you go? They are the hostage-taker talker.

This one was a pro. I mean he never stopped!  Boo would go to another machine, kept talking. Walk across the gym, kept talking.  For a good 45 minutes – kept talking.

By the way, if you don’t know if your gym has one of these, you might want to see if it is you.

I know some people like to converse between reps. Cool. But seriously, I think the gentleman burned more calories talking than he did working out.

And just because my mind works this way, it got me thinking about interviewing.

Hang with me here.

All too often interviewees become talker hostage-takers. They get sidetracked from a question, go down a rabbit hole, and then end up taking the interviewer hostage on a rampage for a long, long time which leads to nowhere.

I’ve done it. I think it is a nervous thing. But more importantly – how do you stop it?

  1. Recognize that you’re going down that path.
  2. STOP.  Stop talking. Right now. Stop the momentum.
  3. Collect yourself. Breathe.
  4. Look the interviewer in the eye and smile.
  5. Tell them “I’m sorry, I have no idea how I got so far off course, let me go back and answer only what you asked”
  6. Give a short, concise answer.
  7. Let it go.

Here’s the thing – unlike at the gym where you might be avoided like the plague – if you move on, this incident will, in all likelihood, be forgotten by the interviewer.

We have all said something stupid or gone down a rabbit hole, so don’t beat yourself up about it. The trick is to stop the train and regroup quickly without batting an eye.

It’s even better if you can add a bit of humor or self-depreciation – just a bit. I’ve started my back-on-track with “Wow, not sure how I got here!” or “The blonde went a little too deep this time….”

A bit of humor (if appropriate) gives the appearance of confidence and humility that you can laugh at yourself but get right back on track.

On your next interview, be the hero, not the talker hostage-taker.

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

As an award winning, published, Resume Writer & Career Coach I help amazing people get career happy.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

All opinions and views are my own (unless attributed). They are also normally spot and have a touch of humor because I’m obsessive about career topics and my dog thinks I’m hilarious, not just his meal ticket.

Simplify Your Story, Don’t Dummy It Down

There are three times when there is too much talking going on in your resume or LinkedIn profile:

–         You feel the need to tell the reader absolutely everything you’ve ever done

–         You don’t know what’s important to the reader

–         You have no idea how to tell your own story

One of these is enough to spoil the stew, but add in that special spice of tenure and it can become a train wreck stew.

This is a nice way of saying experience. I’m in that category. I’m over 50 with a lot of experience. I’m what some might consider old – they would be wrong, but hey, I’m cool with it. Although there are potential employers that may not be now or in 10+ years from now.

The problem – or fault – is a feeling of being over-qualified or discriminated by age.

“The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars but in ourselves…”  Cassius is basically telling Brutus, hey man, we’re in control here – take control of your destiny.

I’m not saying age discrimination does not happen. What I am saying is let’s take a more positive, optimistic, we’ve got some measure of control here approach.

Instead of assuming someone is discounting you, what if you were discounting yourself? Maybe you are not being discriminated against because of your age. Maybe you are being passed over because you aren’t telling them what they need to hear?

There’s a thought.

It seems to be almost a knee-jerk reaction to assume you’re overlooked due to a long career history. Then to think the answer is to “dummy down” your resume or profile.

“Oh, well if I sound like less than I am, surely someone will want to hire me.”

Stop it. Never, ever, ever devalue yourself. Not for a job, not for a person, not for anything. Period.

Okay, off my soapbox.

Instead, let’s simplify your story, and tell it the right way, where you’re speaking their language and getting their attention.

Let’s work through this in three steps, because we want simplifying to be simple!

1. Them

Who is them? The reader: who your resume and LinkedIn is all about. Them. The reader, not you. They don’t care what you want, they care about how are you going to make their life easier. If you are dying to tell them 15 things but they only care about 2 of them, how much time do you think they are going to spend listening to you?

Right.

2. Target

Second, what to say. For this, you have to know your target. What job or position are you targeting? Once you have zeroed in on this, let’s simplify it and get a framework with three questions:

  1. What is the bottom-line purpose of the job?
  2. What activities (main) do I need to do to achieve #1?
  3. How do I prove I’ve achieved #1, how is my performance measured?

The answers to these questions are the outline for your resume and LinkedIn. Focus 80% of your content on what supports these questions. The other 20% is your differential that you bring to the table. Those things that make you more awesome than any other candidate.

3. Story

Your story. This is important because now you get to paint the picture. I tell everyone who will listen: the point of your resume is to tell your story the way you want the reader to understand it, not how it looks on paper. (The purpose is to start a conversation – that’s another article…)

Maybe you want to take a step back. Maybe you have run big teams or your own business and now want to go back to corporate. These can trigger the ‘dummy down’ response.

Don’t do it….

Tell the story the way you would to a real person. If you were a business owner, you know what a pain some aspects were. Taxes, filings, blah, blah, blah. So if you were in an interview, wouldn’t you stress that you want to get back to doing that part of the job that you love?

Okay, say that.

This brings up a good side point. We get in stuck in our head somehow that there is a specific decorum to resumes. Stuffy (nope). Distanced (no). Can’t be a real person (wrong). Can’t say certain things (yes you can).

I’ve used “herculean effort” and “Sherpa” in resumes. So yes, you get to have some fun.

We don’t need to focus on everything you did. Not everything adds value to what you are targeting. We need to maximize that finite amount of valuable space available to you.

Think of CIA: keep what is Critical and Important, ditch what the Assumed (not important). Focus what you did – based on the answers to those three questions. Anything outside that will fall into assumed, not important, or differentials.

Owning a business gave you ‘where the buck stops’ perspective allowing you to better support your leadership team. That’s a differential.

Lastly, let me just say one thing: you’re not the only person who has wanted or done this. It does not look like a demotion, step down, or a negative. Many people step back, go back, change it up. It’s all good. How many managers out there remember before they were managers and sometimes wistfully think, oh, for it to be like that again…

Regardless of the length of your tenure, there are plenty of opportunities out there for you. Simplify your story around your audience. Before you know it, you’ll start getting some phone calls!

 

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

As an award winning, published, triple certified Professional Resume Writer & Career Coach I do what I love – help amazing professionals get career happy.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

Stalled career move? It may be due to one little question.

I’m going to give you a glimpse into my world. Chief is going to be retiring soon, which he deserves for decades of dedicated service. We have discovered through the COVID-19 experience, that he will be embarking on something new.

Truth be told, it’s more of me telling him “you’re going to have to find something to do that is not in this house full time.”   I’m cool if he decides to be a professional bass tournament guy.  Can’t fish in the house….

To get back on track, my point is he’s trying to figure out what to do next (besides the fishing thing).

I’m sharing this, not to find commiserating pals of the pains of shared work space all…the…time….   I’m sharing because I have a feeling many people get stuck where he is – figuring out what’s next.

We get stuck before we get started. The culprit is the question he, and most people, ask first:

what am I qualified for?

I’m not a fan of starting with this question. It has an undercurrent of negativity and can go downhill. Fast. Here’s an inside your head conversation – you know, with that little voice…

What am I qualified for?
Lots of things, I can pretty much do anything!
Great, like what?
I donno, how about talking to people – I’m really good at that!
Yeah, and what job has the title “Talking to People”? None!
Okay, but I can use that skill…
Uh huh, that’s not a real thing, prove that you’re good at it, you can’t measure it, you don’t fit any of these jobs’ criteria….

 

And so on. That little voice can get pretty nasty, judgy, and snarky. We don’t like that mean little voice.

Why did it get so mean? Because in your head “what am I qualified for” gets turned around into “what am I good at?”

And that friends, is why I am in business.

Because we are all terrible at talking nice about ourselves. We don’t want to sound like we’re bragging. It’s uncomfortable. We don’t know how to explain what we do without feeling like we’re saying we are all that and the bag of chips.

We allow our little voice in our head to sabotage any positive thoughts.

Let’s shut that little voice up, shall we?

 

It begins with taking a new perspective, one that the little voice can’t turn around into a negative. Here’s the question I want you to start with:

What do I like to do?

 

There is no judgement here! The voice can’t say you’re not good at it because we’re not asking that. We’re asking what you like. Not a prove you’re good at it. You like to do something or you don’t to varying degrees.

Alrighty then – what do you like? Make a list. Tasks, projects, responsibilities, learning, tools, systems, teams – think of anything and everything.

Next question: why? Why do you like these things? Why do you like working on those kinds of projects, doing those tasks, working with those tools?

Again, no judgement, just why you like it.

Next question: when you do those things, does it make someone’s life easier? If you’re a whiz at reports, does that make your Manager’s life easier being able to find exactly numbers at a moment’s notice?

Again, this isn’t about you – it’s about everything outside of you that what you do touches. Maybe it improves a process, cuts time, increases revenues, clarifies instructions, avoids a risk…

If you go back and look at your answers, you are going to find a pattern. You can then summarize your thoughts into key words. Project management, reporting, process improvement, change management, operations, finance, budgeting….

What’s emerging is a list to compare against the market. A list that highlights what you’re good at, where your value lies. This is your starting point. Find positions that line up under your criteria instead of trying to figure out how you fit under theirs.

The extra bonus of this approach is it takes the stress off of not wanting to do something you are good at doing. Let’s say you are amazing at something – let’s use forecasting as a random example. Absolutely spot-on with your forecasts. No one does it better, faster than you. You’re a forecasting beast. The only problem is – you hate it.

If you started with “what am I qualified for?” the voice jumps to forecasting. Then you get discouraged because you don’t want to do forecasting. The voice in your head will then tell you to stick with what you’re good at because you don’t qualify for anything else.

We really hate that little voice, don’t we?

Don’t give it the power by asking it to monitor you. Start with a simple question – what do you like to do – and see where it leads you. You might be pleasantly surprised at all the avenues available to you.

 

 

P.S. I love putting that little voice in your head in its place – if you need some help, get in touch!

 

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

As an award winning, published, triple certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach & Digital Brand Analyst I do what I love – help amazing professionals get career happy.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

 

#careerchange #personalbranding #careeradvice #resume

Is Someone Else’s Failure Taking Over Your Resume?

As if writing your resume, LinkedIn or interviewing isn’t hard enough. Let’s not make it harder by taking ownership of things that aren’t ours.

I’m going to touch on the talking about yourself aspect. It’s hard. I get it. It feels like you’re bragging. To avoid this, most people go the opposite way. They get generic, like using job duties as bullet points. Don’t do that.

Instead, talk about what you did, with whom, to make something better. Tell your story. For a crash course in storytelling, check out this article: Do You Know Why No One Calls You For an Interview Youre Telling Them Not To

Now, let’s address something that happens without our awareness. Taking on someone else’s failure.

Here is your mantra for the day: their failure doesn’t negate my success.

  • I spoke to three clients the other day and this theme came up with each one of them.
  • One was hired to complete a project and she knocked it out of the park.
  • Another put together a future-forward, take it to the next level tech/marketing plan.
    The third put together an amazing team who (honestly) is too good for the company.

After all they have done…

  • The company wasn’t ready, and planned poorly, their bottom fell out.
  • The company got scared and is stuck in a outdated comfort zone so the project was shelved.
  • The company isn’t interested in investing in any more training or promoting.

 

Each client killed it. Each company failed.

They no longer saw what they did. They took ownership of the company’s failure. They couldn’t see their own success, value, or contribution. It is as if they were saying, “Yeah, I did do some amazing things but since they didn’t come to fruition, they don’t count.”

Yes, they do.

When you tell your story in your resume, LinkedIn, or any other branding – you control the narrative. You tell the story you want them to know. Don’t let the failure overshadow your victory.

Showcase what you did, learned, achieved, prevented –the value you contributed or gained.

Take ownership – good or bad – of what is yours. Tell your story. Show how you can bring the value others need. That way you get the attention of the company that’s right for you and won’t fail you.

 

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰
As an award winning, published, triple certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach & Social Media Brand Analyst I do what I love – help amazing professionals get career happy.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

Are You Ready To Take Your Leadership Effectiveness To The Next Level? You Can By Applying These 4 Characteristics That Great Leaders Have In Common

As a leader, your attitude is your most important recourse. No matter where you are in your leadership career: experienced, a novice, or working your way there. Your attitude will determine your actions.

The right attitude can be a positive effect multiplier.

The wrong attitude can suck the life out of your people, team, and company.

“Attitude is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, money, circumstances, than failures and success, than what other people think, say, or do. It is more important than appearance, ability, or skill. It will make or break a business, a home, a friendship, an organization.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll

Periodically examining your attitude is essential to the health of your team. Take stock for the following four components:

1. Realize you are responsible for the care of your people

Not your direct reports, not your staff, not your minions. Your people.

Each has unique talents, gifts, aspirations, goals, motivations, communication and learning styles. What will work for one may not work for another.

You’re entrusted to teach them, help them grown, and to evolve into giving their best for the greater good. (Whatever the greater good is from customer experience to creating a life-saving product.)

What are you doing to care for your people?

2. Lead out of eagerness to serve, not obligation

The best leaders are the ones who love to lead. Their idea of leadership is doing, not dictating (see #4). They want to help people get better. They want to make a difference. They want to be the one that removes obstacles for others. They want to be the one that elevates others.

What are you excited to bring to your team in 2020?

3. Be concerned for what you can give, not what you can get

Great leaders do not look at leadership as a necessary evil in advancing in their own career. They do not take a leadership position because it has great perks, but look at the people aspect as a burden.

What new skill, product, plan, project, or perspective can you bring to your team to help them?

4. Lead by example, not force

Shoulder-to-shoulder, arm-in-arm, boots on the ground. Great leaders are there in the thick when things are not great. They are also in the background, boosting their people up when things are wonderful.

They remove obstacles, they listen, they learn, they provide the tools or resource their people need to succeed. They don’t blame, they look to resolve.

They don’t command respect with a do-it-or-else attitude. They earn respect by walking the walk and demonstrating the first three qualities. They motivate with enthusiasm and a sense of purpose, not with threats.

How would your team rate you one this? Can you come up with an example of how you lead by example?

 

We’ve all known a great leader. They are the ones who are the reason you stayed in that crappy job for so long, because you didn’t want to leave them. I’ve had more than one. Mr. Sulllivan, Marty are two of my most favorite leaders who made a huge impact on me.

These concepts apply not only to your people, but to your tasks. How we approach not only our people, but our responsibilities can influence your attitude as a leader and, in turn, your effectiveness.

For me, every once in a while, I have to give myself gentle reminders about eagerness not obligation. Sometimes, when quite busy, details can morph into minutia, which feeds into a mindset of ‘have to’. I remind myself that every piece is important. Without the pebbles in the pea gravel, no foundation can be laid.

As we start this new year, instead of making a New Year’s Resolution, let’s resolve to take a look at our attitude. Is there any room for tweaking to take us from a good to great leader?

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

As an award winning, published, triple certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach & Social Media Brand Analyst I do what I love – help amazing professionals get career happy.

 

Click here – Career Polish – to find out more or set up a time for us to have a conversation!

The hardest habit to break to stop having awkward conversations and really connect with people

There is one subconscious habit that wreaks havoc on all communication and connection. It is a double edge sword that we say to friends, colleagues, and even strangers. On one side it gives the receiver a level of uncomfortableness or regret. On the other we completely diminish ourselves or our value.

It was the hardest thing I had to learn to stop doing – and I still struggle with it today.

The way to stop doing this is simple, but not easy. It is something that you have to make a conscious decision every single time to do.

 

THE TASK: learning how to take a compliment.

THE PROBLEM: contradicting the compliment you were given. 

THE SOLUTION: learning to say “Thank you” without a trailer.

 

Let’s look at a couple of examples.

For me, it started innocently enough. Someone would compliment my shoes (I have a things for shoes).

Instead of saying thank you, I would say something like, “Oh thanks, I’ve had these for years” or “Oh thank you, I got them on sale…”

Ugh. Nothing like basically saying, “Hey, thanks for the compliment, but these (and by extension me) aren’t worth it.”

Here’s another example. Say I worked really hard on a project and my boss told me I did a great job.

My old natural reaction would be something like, “Thanks, it was nothing” Well, that’s a lie, I put a lot of work into that.

Or maybe I would say, “Thanks, hopefully it will make a difference.” Awesome, how about I completely undermine the effort and belief I have in my work and its impact?

My best friend and I made a pact to help each other stop this terrible, self-depreciating habit. Every day we would remind each other, “Just say thank you and shut up”.

Now that sounds a bit bold to be telling each other to shut up, but we were serious about it. Why? Because that little “innocent” habit shifts perception. How you perceive yourself and how others perceive you.

When you kill a compliment, you are telling the other person

  •  You don’t value yourself or your work
  •  You don’t feel you are worth recognizing
  •  You do subpar work
  •  You have low self-esteem and even less confidence

Do you know who else you are telling these things to? You. That’s right. You are telling yourself that you are not worth a compliment.

“Hey subconscious, please don’t let someone recognize me for something positive. I’m not worthy. I just want to melt into the corner.” No.

No. No. No.

It also makes people uncomfortable. When I give a compliment and the other person goes out of their way to counter it, it’s painful to hear. I want to hug them because it makes me think they have such low self-esteem that they need a hug.

But I can’t hug you through this article. So instead, I’m going to give you the advice my best friend gave me: Say thank you then shut up.

If it is too hard to not say anything after the thank you, try turning it back on them.

“Great shoes”

“Thank you. I love your jacket.”

“Great job on the project”

“Thank you, I appreciate you noticing.”

See how easy that is? One caveat – if you return with a compliment, be sincere. If you can’t find anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

I know this is hard, it took me decades to recognize then break it. I think I may start a support group, it’s that detrimental to you and that hard to break. But in the meantime, practice with your family and friends. Let them know you are working on this and ask them to help you.

You can do this.

Once you master it, you can help other people learn to do this.

Then there will be a wonderful collection of people around you who stop devaluing themselves and compliment each other.

Just imagine, people saying nice things, other people accepting it and returning the sentiment, and everyone feels good.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…..

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰
As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

Do you know why no one calls you for an interview? You’re telling them not to.

Not you directly, but you in your resume. You’ve trapped it in a vicious politeness cycle. It all starts with not being able to take a compliment and ends in sabotaging yourself in your resume.

All because you are too polite.

This is a unique politeness. It is an extreme avoidance to bragging. This politeness is exhibited in many ways, such as:

  • Using your job description as bullet points.
  • Your opening tells the reader what you want.
  • There is no substance to the information.

You are playing it safe and describing why you were hired. You are also being a bit admirable in not wanting to be a braggart.

Yet the problem with this avoidance behavior, this politeness is this:

No one cares what you were hired to do – they care what happens when you do it.

You’re right about bragging, it isn’t the way to go either. Here’s the problem with that: :

No one is going to believe what you say because you said so – you have to prove it.

If you can’t brag and you can’t be too polite, then what do you do?

Tell your story.

Learning to tell your story solves both problems – and it opens the door to interviews.

A Crash Course In Storytelling

Every good story has an arc. Good arcs have certain elements: set up, action, highlights, failures, corrections, resolution. A good story gives the reader something that intrigues them, piques their curiosity, excites them. It make them want to keep reading and find out how the story ends.

A good story resonates with the reader because something within the story resonates with them.

Your resume stories should align with what is important to your reader. Don’t write for you, write for them. To do this, you need to do a bit of research. What is important to the position, team, customers, industry, company, etc.? This is the THEM FACTOR.

Generate excitement and keep them hooked in the story with framing. Use the parameters of that ideal job as your framework. This further entrenches you in the mind of the reader.

What is the bottom-line purpose of the job? How is success in this measured? What actions do you take to achieve this bottom line? How do you prove excellence in those actions? What are the most important skills you must possess and be able to master? This is the DETAIL FACTOR.

Now you have the framework to write those stories. And all the components to get to an interviewer.

Story Building Steps

Remember the THEM FACTOR? That is how you will frame your story – starting with the most important part to the reader.

Step 1. Give a basic sketch of the situation.

Let’s say you were hired to increase the number of email subscribers for an online platform. Some of the things you did were:
– research what was working in the industry, what wasn’t
– analyze the current system
– work with Marketing to understand how the collected information would be used
– use a new software to redo the process
and you increased the subscriber base 15% in 30 days.

Step 2. Prioritize

Great, now you have good baseline story elements. When writing ot the sketch, lead with what is most important to your reader. What do they value the most?

  •  The software you used
  • Your problem-solving ability
  • Your teamwork (with Marketing)
  • Your research and analyzing skills
  • The number increased or the time

Depending on their priorities, this can start in many different ways:

  • Increased subscribers 15% in 30 days…..
  • Resolved longstanding problem….
  • Modernized process integrating ABC software to…
  • Coordinated with Marketing….

In the next step, the DETAIL FACTOR comes into play.

Step 3. Fill in the blanks

There are two parts to knowing what to fill in the blanks with: skills and attributes.

Skills

The details contain the hard and soft skills. These are the keywords you want to incorporate into your resume to pass the ATS system. ATS is Applicant Tracking Software, the scanner used by over 90% of Fortune 500 companies to parcel resumes. It eliminates nearly 75% of candidates because they don’t match the job.

Attributes

Read the job description again after discerning the hard and soft skills desired. Read it this time just to get a feel. Research the company. In all your research, what is the feel you get for the company? Do they value community involvement? Do they encourage growth? Are they excited to do what they do? What’s their vibe? What kind of people are looking for? Does this jive with you?

Fill in your story using descriptor words that match both you and their energy, feel, or vibe. Done authentically and your resume will attract the human reader after it passes the ATS.

When a person reads a story that
– has meaning to them (aligns with job)
– captivates them (details the skills/attributes they want in a candidate) and
– delivers a satisfying conclusion (result)
They’ll call the hero of that story for an interview.

The End.

 

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

As excited as you get in getting the call, that’s how excited I am in telling your story. If you need help telling your story, reach out. I would love to help you tell your story the way you want it known to get you where you want to be.

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

Or click here  – Consultation – to schedule your free 30 minute conversation.

Does Your Resume Pass This Two-Word Test?

One of the biggest mistakes I see on resumes – from college graduates to CEOs -is that their resume, and specifically the statements therein, fail a simple two-word test.

So what?

If the reader asks that question after reading your summary – fail.

If the reader asks that question after reading your bullet points – fail.

It’s so easy to fail this test when we start with the wrong information and wrong mindset.

The information is your job description.
The mindset is footnoting your past.

No one cares what you were hired to do, they care what happens when you do it.

• Hired to recreate distribution list. – So what?
• Increased subscribers by 5,000 by updating distribution list with XYZ technology. – Value delivered.

How do you transform a so what statement into a value statement? Ask a few questions and write forward.

A few questions.

Why did you do this task? How did you complete the task (what skills, technology, attributes did you use)? Who did you work with and how? What were the benefits or results of you completing this task?

Detail out the information for these questions, dig deep, gather as much as you can.

Put the story together about this task, assignment or project.

Write forward.

Write to where you want to go translating the information in a meaningful way to the reader.

What is most important to the reader? Is it your problem-solving skills? Is it increasing the number of subscribers? Is it working on or leading a team?

Whatever is most important to the reader of your resume is your guide to detailing your information.

  • Problem solving: “Removed longstanding roadblock to distribution list by solving..”
  • Subscribers: “Increased subscribers by 5,000 in only 30 days by….”
  • Leading a team: “Pulled team together and guided …..”

Start with the wow then follow with the how.

Your resume isn’t about you, it’s about the reader. To grab and keep their attention you must answer their most important question:

“What’s in it (hiring you) for me?”

 

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

If your resume doesn’t excite you, sound like you or represents the you that is going places, let’s talk. I want you to discover the you that is hidden and position you to move forward in your career.

As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

If It’s All About Who You Know & Most Jobs Are ‘Hidden’ – Do I Really Need A Resume?

Yes.

How’s that for a short and sweet article?

If your understanding of a resume is a recap of title, duties and company names, we have a lot of catching up to do!

Many, many, many, years ago a resume might have been this type of recap. Something that served for both applying for a job and filling out an application. But today, something like that is like an office having a rotary phone with no voicemail. Completely inappropriate and utterly useless.

An effective resume tells your value story, in your voice to get you the recognition and connection to achieve your career goals. It sets up all your career communication: interviewing, networking, LinkedIn, etc.

Let’ dive in by taking a look at what a resume is and is not before we get into why it is critical for your career.

IS NOT

Your resume is not about you.

It is about the reader. Do you know why I don’t state something like “looking for a position where I can add value and grow” on the top of your resume? Because the reader doesn’t care what you want.

They care what you can do for them. What’s in it for them? What do they gain by hiring you?

It is not a biography, tell all or epic novel.

One of the hardest parts of building your brand is taking out what is not important to your audience. The reason this is hard is two-fold:

1. We may get over excited wanting to explain the depth of our background. No one cares about every little project or task we’ve done. It’s too much.

2. We devalue ourselves and don’ think anything is important because it’s ‘just what we do’

It’s a what have you done lately world so your most recent experience is most critical. However, demonstrating a history of growth and increasing impact is equally important. Let’s just leave off the part time job you had in college since you graduated college 20 years ago.

IS

A story that you define the narrative.

Your resume is the opportunity to tell your story they want you want it understood, not necessarily the way it looks on paper.

It is a way to make that oddball job or unfortunate position fit into the greater narrative.

Every experience brings with it the opportunity to learn. Good or bad, there is always something to learn. And that is part of your story.

For the good jobs, did you fix a certain problem, create a new revenue stream, improve the customer experience? Why were you there and what value did you bring?

A future journey not past narrative.

If I were to tell you what I did in a previous life working in the financial industry, compliance things, it might make you yawn. It might also make you wonder how that ties into me being a career storyteller. I would need to tie the two together to make you care or at least be interested.

The way to do that is to use your future to define your past. If your target role is a promotion, find out what is important for that position. What are the responsibilities, how is success measured, what skills are needed? These answers become your guide to writing your background.

Your bullet points now will describe demonstration of how you have used those skills in previous roles. How you had similar successes. Proof of possessing desired skills and traits.

Is it beginning to make sense that your resume is not just a fact sheet thrown together to fill out a job application? Good!

Beyond the paper

An effective resume is your value proposition that comes together at the intersection of your brand and the market needs.

So how is it the foundation of career communication (LinkedIn, networking, interviewing, etc.)?

You have the blueprint. By demonstrating your value, the ROI for hiring you in your voice you know how to convey your value in any forum to educate, engage, and excite.

BUILDING AN EFFECTIVE RESUME

Let’s do a quick overview of how we build a resume that serves as this important foundation.

Change your mind set.

We start with knowing it’s a story, not a data sheet.

We discover what is important to your audience and use it as a guideline.

We prove value, skills, success based on the measurements your audience is looking for.

Why do I care?

For each role there was a purpose for you being there – what was it? Did you achieve that goal? Did you make a difference?

For your bullet points, no one cares what you were hired to do. They care what happens when you did it. Take a list of responsibilities and turn them into proof points.

What was the problem (similar to your ideal job, company or industries problems), how did you solve it? Who did you work with, how did you work with them, what did you do, how did something benefit? The beneficiary could be a client, coworker, team, process, idea or company.

Describe the scenario to give context.

– Increased sales 25% – So what? Did you inherit a book of business?

That is a meaningless number without proof. Your audience wants proof because they are not going to believe you just because you said so.

– Increased sales 25% by reestablishing ties with neglected secondary partners….
– Increased sales 25% within six months by designing new widget for whodonits….
– Increased sales 25% after eradicating longstanding backlog in processing…..

Make it personal.

Become alive within your resume. Make it sound like you. How do you think, how do you approach a project, how do you strengthen relationships, how do you do what you do? Use words that resonate with you.

When it comes down to two equally qualified individuals, the one that fits in with the culture is going to win.

How will they know if you fit in the culture if you don’t let yourself shine through? Use words that resonate with you to let your voice be recognized.

Putting it all together.

Now that you have the idea of the building blocks of your foundational resume, how does this translate to all other career communication?

Because you know how to tell the story. All the hard work and heavy lifting has been done in the resume.

Interviewing

More than likely you will be asked, “tell me about a time when….”. You have the answers in your bullet points. Here was the problem, here is how I solved it by working with whom, how and here is the result.

You’re following the good old STAR method – Situation, Task, Action, Result.

Networking

Too often we use our title as our introduction. You give the power of meaning to your audience. But, since you now know your value, you can engage and set the tone.

The opening “I’m a financial advisor” now becomes “I’m a retirement coach. My clients actually retire early with solid financials to enjoy their life.”
Another benefit of your resume is it gives you the confidence to tell your story in an authentic way. It’s not made up, it’s not foo-foo language that doesn’t sound like you. It is the you that you have forgotten about and can now easily communicate.

It’s the you that is going places.

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

If your resume doesn’t excite you, sound like you or represents the you that is going places, let’s talk. I want you to discover the you that is hidden and ready to move forward in your career.

As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

🎵 It’s the Most Wonderful Time…To Job Search 🎶

 

Should you continue to search for a job during the holidays?

YES!

Here is my holiday job search advice set to this classic by Andy Williams:

It’s the most wonderful time to job seek
With the kids best behaving
And everyone telling you the time is bleak
It’s the most wonderful time to job search

It’s the least crowdiest season of all
With those holiday parties and networking choices
New contacts to call
It’s the hap-happiest season of all

There’ll be parties for meeting
New contacts for greeting
And sending you to a new job

There’ll be less competition
From myths of bad timing from
Bad advice from long, long ago

It’s the most wonderful time to job seek
There’ll be jobs that are hidden
But none are forbidden
For those who pursue
It’s the most wonderful time to job search
There’ll be parties for greeting
Your new future teaming
And bosses who’ll hire you soon

There’ll be less who are looking
From bad advice given from
Job searching long, long ago

It’s the most wonderful time to job seek
There’ll be much options given
To those who are driven
To search now and near

It’s the most wonderful time
Yes the most wonderful time
Oh the most wonderful time
To job search

 

If you would like help taking advantage of this time of year or getting ready for the new year, reach out and we’ll get you positioned for success.

 

~ Lisa