The Resume’s Soul

A common bit of resume advice you’ll hear is that you need to sell yourself, that your focus should be, first and foremost, on the employer. You’re supposed to think about their needs, what they want to see in a candidate, who you should be. And then be that.

This same advice often gets applied to presentations, personal statements, keynotes, executive bios, and the like. The idea is that you must think of your audience first to come up with content they’ll appreciate.

I disagree.

I think the reason we get so overwhelmed, annoyed, and frustrated when writing down our stories is because we slip into selling mode and lose sight of the real focus – ourselves. Ironically, that’s exactly what audience wants to read on the page and see up on the screen. They want to see us, not them.

So start there.

If you’re overwhelmed with what to write, go back to the basics: remember your greatness, what you’re good at, and what you want to do more of. Write it down without concern for what anyone else needs. This is your homebase, your lantern. As you walk back through your life, look for traces of these things and pull them out of the shadows.

Like a forced presentation or a plagiarized bio, when a resume starts from any other place other than you, it has no center; it’s merely a hollow pitch that no one will believe, not even you.

Give your resume a chance. Give it a soul.