If you are feeling so down on yourself and just can't get started, then focus on celebrating your wins to motivate you to go after your career dreams.
In one of my Discover Your Career Weekly Q&A sessions on Facebook Live I talked about how to get started when you don’t know how to get started.
I chose that topic because I had spoken to a lot of people that week who were just so overwhelmed, who felt that they didn’t know where to begin but it all just seemed TOO much. Too much information to wade through, too many conflicting ideas, too many things on the to do list, too much everything.
When your feelings are in overdrive – you are overwhelmed, stressed out, anxious and depressed, exhausted and just discouraged. When your head is spinning and your self esteem is in a downward spiral.
So I presented a plan in how to take action, 5 steps that will help you figure out a first step:
A gave a list of suggestions for what that one thing could be. And one of those things could be to just write your resume.
But I want you to think differently about it. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and discouraged by all the noise out there – what format, how to optimize it, how to make sure it gets you the interview – and instead just think about this as a first draft. You can worry about all the rest later.
So for the first draft – use it as an opportunity to build your self-confidence up. This is a chance to celebrate you, your accomplishments and all the amazing things you can offer to a potential employer.
So there are a few exercises I want you to go through that will not only get you great content for your resume but will also help you feel ready to take on the world!
WRITE A LIST
This is a list of all the ways you made a difference, all the accomplishments you have under your belt and all the things you are really proud of doing in your career.
I only want you to focus on the last 2-3 roles and think about at least 2-3 wins for each. These accomplishments could be ways you reduced costs or brought in money, improved employee morale, helped the company go through a major transition phase (technical implementation, process improvements, merger & acquisition), or how you made the lives of others run smoother (clients, customers, team members or bosses).
“But I don’t have any accomplishments”, is something I hear all the time. All jobs have accomplishments! Yes there are jobs out there that are accomplishment based (ie sales, project management) but don’t discredit yourself. Task oriented jobs all have those times – when it is expected that you do the seemingly impossible! Sometimes the accomplishment is just being so good at your job that your error rate or time to complete are amazing.
BRAG, BRAG, BRAG
I know so many of us our conditioned that it isn’t okay to brag. But honestly now is the time! Take each of those accomplishments and just start bragging away.
One way to really get some robust stories is to approach it as you would preparing for an interview. Use the acronym BAR to write out your stories. Background – what was the situation (problem, project, job aspect), your role and who you worked with. Action – what are the steps you took throughout the situation (steps to solve, project lifecycle, etc). Result – what happened? Use numbers here whenever possible to quantify but also think about it terms of Improving, Increasing, Reducing.
I also suggest that you do this in a separate document than your resume that way you can save it for your interview prep. Talk about using your time wisely.
PARE IT DOWN
Now you aren’t going to use the whole story for each of your accomplishments in your resume so now it is time to distill it into 1-2 bullet points.
Start each bullet point with an ACTION VERB and ensure that you are using keywords like skills, knowledge and experience that really show you off.
WHO YOU ARE
Read through those accomplishments. Think about how you want to build on those accomplishments. Now you are ready to write your objective/profile statement of who you are, what you bring and what you want.
NOW YOU ARE READY
You have now completed the hardest part of the resume! So you are ready to find a snazzy template that you like and that will get past those Applicant Tracking Systems (here’s a hint: one with colour but no tables).
Most of your content is written, now all you need is to make sure the resume is filled will all the right components. And I have you covered for that. Get my free resume checklist – a handy way to make sure you are showcasing your worth without any added stress.
The resume feels like this impossible thing sometimes. Especially when we are feeling lost and stuck and not feeling so great about ourselves! But going through these exercises will not only give you WINNING resume content but will also get you ready to go out there and sell yourself!
Don’t forget to get my THE ULTIMATE RESUME CHECKLIST, make your live easier with this to guide you.
Sara Curto, Career Management Specialist. Working with you towards Career and Job Search Success.
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