Embrace Your Inner Rock Star for Your Resume

Awesome guitar player jumps with passion in studioI grew up in the Midwest; I know meat and potatoes cooking. Beyond feeding my family, my son always had friends over so I fed many, many teenage boys. It is really nothing for me to whip up a good, old Midwest meal including a staple of meat and plenty of starches with some veggies thrown in.

Yesterday my guy and I decided it was a great night to stay in and catch up on some Netflix. I figured I would fix something quick and easy – pork chops and fried potatoes. You would have thought the man had never had real food.

Of course, this could have been a clever way to ensure he gets more homemade meals – and yes, he will. But he was quick to remind me that he exemplifies a typical single man – living on pop tarts and microwavable food. He was also genuinely appreciative and amazed at how easy it was for me. He made me feel like a rock star.

I never really thought about it, I know how to cook and the boys always gobbled up anything I fixed. I had never thought about giving myself credit for being a good cook.

It is all about perception and personal experience.

This is a perfect parallel to a major block people have when writing their resume: they don’t see their own inner rock star.

What they take for granted as just part of their job or just what they do are actually incredible points of value to others. We get stuck somewhere along the line in our career or paths as “just” a title, “just” doing a job, “just” anything. We lose sight of our inner rock star. We lose sight of the forest for the trees.

How do we block this and more importantly, how do we stop? There are three major contributors:

Duty vs. Value

One thing that I love about my job is hearing the stories of how people moved in and throughout their career. The different jobs, how they were thrown in and had to learn on their own, how they were influenced, how they figured it out and how they owned each step.

That last point is key: how you own it. What is it you do that makes a difference? It is the care and quality of your work, the steps you take to do it right.

When you have a thought, “I just do this” break it down. How do you do it, why do you take each step that you do? Dig deeper to find the rock star qualities that enable you to own it and do it so well. There can be other people that do what you do, but you do it different – you do it better.

What you were hired to do is a duty; how you do it in your own rock star way is your value.

Influence vs. Lack of Title

Many times we feel that if we do not have the fancy title, then we are not leaders. “I am not a manager so I can’t or don’t add much value.” Bull.

Some of the most influential people in my life have not been bosses, but peers or people that reported to me. They influenced me in some positive way that was not in direct alignment with their title.

This is the second form of how: how you influence others. Take the task performance out of it and think about how you influence others to do better. How you work with people, communicate, lead or inspire that makes a difference to others in getting things done.

Do you have a knack for taking very complicated information and explaining it to others in a very easy to understand way? Are you able to find a common thread for people to attach to and come together to get a project done? Are you able to point out the positive in other people to inspire them to improve?

This is the interaction part of what you do. If you are a natural leader, let that shine through. Rock stars shine and let that light serve as an illumination to others, not blind them with it.

Environment vs. Reality

This can be a tough one on many: where you work is detrimental to your inner rock star.

You may be doing spectacular things but the environment in which you are accustomed is sucking the life out of you. Maybe you have a boss that thinks if they complement you then you will slack off so they continue to point out the negative even when you are performing like a rock star.

This is also why I listed this point last: you have to have appreciation for your inner rock star to get over the naysayers that are around you. It is natural to want acceptance, praise or recognition. Unfortunately, there may come a point in your career where you work in an environment that provides none of those things and that can shake your confidence.

Before beating yourself up, take a look around you. A good, hard, honest look. If you know you did well and still got chewed out about a minor detail, look at it for what it is – not what it was presented to you.

Your boss may be jealous that you can do their job better than you, there may be a favorite in the office and it just isn’t you or maybe you are surrounded by idiots. Who knows, more importantly, who cares? Inner rock stars do not let others dim their light. They keep burning brightly and draw the right opportunities to them.

Write down your last five accomplishments on an index card and keep it in your wallet. After another horrible meeting, take five minutes to take it out and remind yourself of your value. Like Eleanor Roosevelt said, “All the water in the world cannot drown you unless it gets inside of you.”

Take Action

Now that you can see your inner rock star light shining it is time to put that into your resume.

Transform your duties into value: instead of describing what you were hired to do, tell them what value you provide.

Before: “Tracked inventory and purchases.”
After: “Maintained meticulous inventory and purchasing schedule streamlining processes that improved efficiency, significantly reduced costs and ensured appropriate part counts.”

Insert your influence that lends value.

Before: “Trained employees on new safety policies.”
After: “Motivated employees through effective training resulting in greater engagement of new policies and decreased safety issues.”

Every once in a while when you are writing your resume you might hear that little nagging voice in your head that is coming from your environment. You might write a great, value driven statement and all of a sudden that little bugger immediately condemns it and tells you that you are bragging. Well, you just tell it to shut up. If you are writing facts then it is not bragging, it is describing a truth!

Write on Rock Star, write on!

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