Consider the meek: They may in fact be set to inherit the earth, but it’s not easy for them to portray that birthright in their resumes.
Toward that noble end, Susan Cucuzza, an Executive Coach with Live Forward LLC, sits humble introverts down, one on one, and asks them to think about their career accomplishments. The responses she’s received: “Well, I can’t think of too many. … I’ve just done my job. … I just did what they asked me to. …”
Do you have a tough time getting over shyness when it comes time to play up your accomplishments? To give you a bracing shot in the arm, we talked to executive coaches and resume writers to discover the tricks they use to turn wallflowers into prom queens and kings.
Rachael Davies Hayes, a CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer), gets plenty of humble people who come to her with a list of job duties and tell her they “haven’t accomplished much,” she said.
She said the key to getting them to open up is to ask good questions that serve “as effective lead-ins.” Once the information starts flowing, then she can polish it up for that “billboard flair,” Davies Hayes said.
Here are the questions she’s had good luck with. Interview yourself and write down your answers while brainstorming your resume:
“Once my clients start to think about these things, their selling points begin to pour out,” Davies Hayes said.
For her part, after Cucuzza challenges introverts to think about the results of their work, they become “amazed” at how many accomplishments they have, she said. She then works with them to translate those accomplishments so that their resumes aren’t merely reiterations of job descriptions, but truly the results they achieved in their careers.
How do you meld description with achievement in this way? Armed with raw bragging material from your self-interview, you can begin to use your resume to tell your story.
Steve Savage, a technical project manager who speaks, writes, and blogs on what he calls “Geeky Jobs,” said he thinks of a good resume as being “like a novel or a movie.” Here’s how he advises his tech-pro clients to set it up:
Approaching a resume as a storytelling exercise serves introverts well, Savage said, since it’s a creative exercise that plays to their rich inner lives. It’s also good practice for improving communication, he said. “They develop elevator pitches. They develop ideas of how to talk about themselves,” he said. “Armed with that knowledge — and with seeing a resume differently — they’re more confident in the job search.”