Having Courage, Even When Writing Your Resume

The first time I heard the saying ‘the way you do one thing is the way you do everything’ I immediately dismissed it-how could that be true? But I’ve come back to this again and again because upon reflection I do find truth, something to learn, and even wisdom, here. Right now, during our sheltering-in-place, it’s a good time to look at how we do anything and everything and learn from it. We’re ‘stuck inside’ in more ways than one, which offers a lot of rich opportunity to discover so much about ourselves, what we want, and how we do things.

I have worked on a gazillion resumes since 1991 when I first started working as a career professional. One thing I’ve consistently noticed throughout these many years is that no matter how many years of work experience, degrees and additional training one has, everyone bumps into the discomfort of judgement and comparison when looking at job descriptions and writing resumes. When we stop and think about who we are and what we have to offer, even if putting this document together to give to a friend, it brings out our fear of not being or having enough. Maybe this doesn’t ring a bell for you – and if not there’s info there for you, too!

Resume writing is one of those things that’s difficult to do by yourself because of the awkward feelings they bring up, and because we can forget so easily about what we do that offers value – we take ourselves and our skills for granted. We often don’t see ourselves. In a resume writing class I recently taught, one of the women spoke up about wanting to go for a job that required certain skills that she worried aloud wasn’t something she had to offer. A friend of hers was in the class and stopped her and reminded her about all of the times she’d told her about doing that specific thing! We all laughed out loud. There is was; buried under her fear of not being enough.

We are judging creatures. Judgement helps us to navigate decisions and actions in our lives. But who can say they aren’t tortured at some time by their self and other judgements – more or less. Job searching, and especially resume writing, is the land of judgement that gets in our way of taking steps to get what we want. Yes, there are those who you may see making what appears to be easy progress in their career path; but I would invite you to consider that we are – like in so many other ways – all in this soup of humanity together. With this perspective we can perhaps offer ourselves some self-compassion, patience and kindness to keep on with it. Look at what you do, and have done, without that disparaging voice that doubts you were really that good at what you were doing. That voice of perfectionism (maybe) is what’s made you so responsible and diligent. That fear of measuring up may have been what’s propelled you into more education, and knowledge.

If you’re ready for a new professional goal – yes even in these days of Covid-19 upheaval – do this:

  • Write a list all of the achievements you’re most proud of.
  • Look at the challenges you’ve overcome – large and small – and write them down.
  • Look for your strengths and gifts and write them down.
  • Write down what brings you joy both in work or not.
  • Write about the things you’re inspired to accomplish during your lifetime and why; let this be fun and energizing. If you aren’t energized you can know you’re in judging mode.

This is the way to courage; calling on your intelligence and your heart to look, see, and do. Sounds just like we’re being asked to do during our days of sheltering-in-place. How we do one thing is how we (can) do everything.