I want to dispel a common myth about achieving the right career for you. It’s often the first thing I get asked by potential new clients, and actually, for a very long time, I held this belief myself.
So here goes… if you are feeling dissatisfied in your career, unfulfilled by what you do or frustrated by your never-ending job search, having a super-slick, well-present resumé or CV will NOT fix your career.
Did I just hear a collective groan? I’m sorry if I’ve been the one to break this news to you.
Let me explain further… I’m not saying having a succinct, grammatically accurate, beautifully designed resumé is not important. On the contrary, it can be extremely valuable and there are many amazing people out there who can help you make sure yours is top quality. But, I want you to know your resumé is the end of the process, not the beginning.
An impressive resumé, like a well-executed piece of marketing collateral, is worth it’s weight in gold if it clearly articulates your value in a way that engages exactly the right person, at the precise moment that person recognises what you offer as the solution to their problem.
Once your resumé passes through the online bots, the person who reads it needs to immediately understand and imagine how their work-life will be improved by having you in their team. If you’re not able to clearly state your unique career value (i.e. the profile of strengths, skills, knowledge and experience that make you “one of a kind”) and connect your value directly to the role, job category, team or organisation in question, your resumé is likely to end up in the virtual slush pile.
In order to ensure you give your resumé the best chance of working hard for you, it’s critically important you craft the story you want to tell.
The key steps you need to take BEFORE investing in the perfect resumé
1. ARTICULATE YOUR UNIQUE VALUE
In the words of Dr Seuss, “there is no one alive who is you-er than you”, and it’s important you can succinctly articulate who you are and what sets you apart from others with the same set of skills and qualifications. Start by asking yourself these 2 questions – 1. What can I do naturally without even thinking about it? and 2. What do people thank me for doing for them? The answers will provide clues to the value you bring to a situation.
2. IDENTIFY WHAT YOU WANT
It pays to be clear about where you’re headed. I once sent >20 job applications and didn’t land a single interview. Frustrating AF! As I lamented to a friend, she asked if I actually wanted any of the roles. And while some sounded interesting… mostly, I just wanted a job and $$$. To set yourself up for career success you need to identify your intended destination and then work out how to get there. When you’re not sure where you want to go, you’ll definitely get there… but will it be the right place?
3. PRIORITISE WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU
I talk about this a LOT but it’s worth re-iterating. For a long time I didn’t understand I could design my own path. I let others make decisions on my behalf, then wondered why I wasn’t happy. I pursued opportunities I thought would be the best fit for what I was good at, even though I didn’t enjoy doing those things. To confidently take control of your career you must prioritise what’s important to you, what motivates you and your version of success.
4. JOIN THE DOTS
This is the magic ingredient required to help you (and your resumé) stand apart. You need to focus not on showcasing your talents and yourself as the hero, but rather highlight how by applying your strengths you achieve success for others – for individuals, teams or businesses. Your potential employer needs to see themselves as the hero and you as the solution to their problem. And, you can do this by knowing your target and engaging them by articulating your value in a way they understand and recognise.
5. CONSISTENTLY COMMUNICATE AND REINFORCE
Your resumé should be just one asset in your career design strategy. It should be consistent with the “you” others find when they encounter you face-to-face, hear about you, or search for you online. Whether you want to stand out in your workplace, apply for a job, or build your own business, when people know who you are it leads to the types of opportunities, jobs, projects and clients you’re happy with and actually want. Start owning and sharing your story as often as you can.
If you are thinking about “what’s next” for you and want some assistance to craft your unique career story, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’d love to help you work it out.