If you recognize yourself in this description and want to create a great CV at long last, you may find the following three tips useful:
1. Tell your story in your own words
When a client brings her resume to our meeting, I don’t look at it. Instead, I ask her to tell me a story about the person from this CV. I ask the following questions to make the storytelling easier:
- What did this person enjoy doing? What did she hate?
- What is she proud of having accomplished (if nothing in any of the jobs, what was she proud of having accomplished at school/university/in extra-curricular activities)?
- What were some of the things that worked well for this person in her previous jobs and what things didn’t work so well?
If you’ve spent a lot of time on editing your CV and haven’t made much progress, it’s often a good idea to close the old version altogether and write a completely new one from the scratch as answers to the questions above. Your story will come much more fluid and natural, and you’ll enjoy working on it.
2. Focus on the future, don’t dwell on the past
If you want to be inspired, your resume should look into the future, and not reflect your past.
Often people who want to progress in their career get caught up in labels. For instance, if their last job was called “personal assistant” or “marketing manager”, in their resume they may still use terminology of a “personal assistant” to describe their responsibilities and achievements, like “scheduling meetings”, or “booking flights”. However, if they don’t want to be a personal assistant anymore, they need to change the language!
Because they feel uninspired about what they did, they often choose uninspiring words to describe this experience. No wonder they get really bored working on their CV!
If you want to progress from “marketing manager” to “marketing director”, you need to start thinking as a marketing director, and choose the words and experiences accordingly.
Start with inspiration. Imagine that you’re already doing something that you have always wanted to do. Think about your daily life, how you get to your office and what it looks like, what you are wearing, what people you sit next to etc. Imagine this in every possible detail.
Now think about what in your previous job helped you be successful in your new role? Very important - think about it as if you were already in the desired position. Perhaps, as a “personal assistant” you learned to organize well the work process for your boss - how can you reframe this skill in your new, more senior role? Perhaps, something like “operational management”? Write it down and repeat for every major responsibility.
Do you instantly feel yourself more accomplished and inspired?
3. Unsure about the dream job? Be curious and follow the heat
People often get blocked working on a resume because they don’t know what their dream job is, and so see no sense in improving it. The good thing is that you don’t need to have a clear picture in mind to get inspired if you use the following trick.
Remember a child’s play “hot and cold”? A person hides an object and others go searching for it. If they get close to the hidden object, the person says “warm” or “hot”, if they get further away from it, he says “cold” or “freezing”.
Use the same principle in your job search. Open an empty Word doc, then go to a job search website and browse through every possible vacancy on it. Go through a job description of a dentist, driver, CFO, geologist, and copy-paste to your doc all phrases or words that catch your attention and make you feel "warm" or "hot". It can be a name of a brand, industry, location or responsibilities that make you ignite - keep copying them in the same document.
Don't limit yourself to a particular sector or job you think you might be suitable for. Instead, go totally crazy!
You’ll soon start seeing a pattern, and your “ideal” job will emerge. Maybe you’ll discover it’s all about travel, or helping others, or being in a luxury environment - you’ll notice what really makes you tick and feel inspired.
With that information in mind, you can now think about the industries or companies where these qualities are represented. Check their websites to see how they formulate their job descriptions, and use some of the words from them to tailor your resume for your dream job.
Allow yourself to have fun, and working on your resume will be really easy!
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