Welcome to the Work Happy column, designed to help you find career happiness no matter where you are on your journey. Look for spotlights on people who are redefining what it means to work in Southern Illinois, as well as practical tips you can use to win at work. Enjoy!
Does your resume sound anything like this?
“Available immediately! Rainmaker ready to jumpstart your revenue! Hire me!”
No? Would you be surprised to learn that I’ve see this type of language on client documentation over and over again?
Here’s how a recruiter or hiring manager actually reads such lines:
“Desperate! Job hopper! Overinflated sense of self-worth!”
And into the ‘probably not’ pile you go.
It’s OK to have confidence in yourself and what you can bring to a company. After all, equally as damaging as the overstate is the undersell. But finding the balance between the two is where things get tricky.
Here are three ways you can fit nicely into the safe zone.
Know thy skills
I walk some of my clients through an exercise that involves them putting their value into written (or typed) words. And in a hurry.
The entire process lasts a minute-and-a-half. Here’s how it works:
In 30 seconds, write down your own personal product description. If you were sitting on a shelf at Kroger, what would the back of your package say? And go!
Starting with your current or most recent role, take 30 seconds to write down what you achieved there. How did you save the company money? How did you make operations more efficient? What committees or special projects were you part of? Think hard and try to remember the details.
Take 30 seconds to jot or type how people describe you as a leader, peer and friend. What words do they use? What are the common threads that make up your leadership fiber?
No structure, no first person — just words. This mental purge can help uncover soft skills or parts of past roles and achievements that may not be coming through on your current resume.
If you know what you’re good at, you should surely be able to explain it to someone within 90 seconds. So grab your laptop, smartphone or pencil and get to work. Your 90 seconds start … now.
Don’t shy away
Use terms like “aggressive sales metrics” or “contentious union environment” to convey how you have risen above major challenges in your career. Keep buzzwords like “continuous improvement,” “project management” or “customer engagement” nearby to make sure you’re still hitting applicant tracking system requirements while showing your stuff.
Phone a friend
Your friends, co-workers or even former employers can be great resources to help you make your case. Ask them to review your resume or LinkedIn profile and tell you what’s missing. Sometimes it takes an extra eye to laser through the fluff.