I love this quote from Whitney Johnson in her new book, DISRUPT YOURSELF™: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work. It is both visually stimulating and appropriately intimidating.
Writing your Resume
Writing your executive resume can be similarly disruptive, particularly if it has been more than a year or two since you last sat, steeped in your story, absorbed in self-reflection. The process is daunting and overwhelming, and also forces you up steep foothills. Often, clients tell me, the journey feels rigorous and unconquerable.
Johnson’s book offers a plethora of insights easily applied to renewing your resume.
I will cherry pick just a few things that can disrupt your resume.
“When people decide to make a change, it’s often because the work no longer does the emotional job they originally hired it to do, or because they want to shed some of the unspoken ‘jobs’ that came with the role. So when you’re planning a move, be very clear on what the job is, from the company’s perspective and yours, both functionally and emotionally.”
Why this is important to resume strategy: For most people, job change is rife with emotion, and as a result this anxiety leads to knee-jerk resume writing with a rush to quickly check off the resume requirement. This leads to predictable and less than momentous results. As such, you find yourself interviewing with the same-old types of roles and in the similar types of companies with cultures that lead to emotional drag and dispiritedness.
So, instead of letting the wave of emotion control your destiny, navigate thoughtfully through the waters of career change. Your resume can be a port in the storm in which to funnel focused energies on your next, more fulfilling gig, a place to plot out your own destination. Start by reacquainting with what motivates you in a job, which brings me to insight number two:
“We all want to be paid in cold hard cash, and preferably a good amount of it,” says Johnson, but she also reminds us of the emotional rewards side of the compensation equation. “
What about the emotional rewards that are worth far more to most people than dollars and cents? Wouldn’t you stay at a job longer because of intangibles such as long-term opportunities, the belief that you are building something important, or the feeling that you have a seat at the table?”
She continues by sharing a personal story where she realized the emotional cost of staying at her job on Wall Street had become too high when she could no longer bring her dreams to work.
Why this is important to resume strategy: Acknowledging what factors triggered your emotional discord at your last job will help you to begin uncovering what factors in turn would refuel you at a new position. Creating a list of traits related to a future role will help you better define the type relationships, requirements and cultural traits you seek in your next position. Read: 10 Pieces of Information Your Professional Resume Leaks
It’s more than just functional requirements you are seeking to fulfill. You must show not only how you are technically and functionally qualified, but also how your soft skills and emotional intelligence propel you through corporate complexity and personal success.
“Each bird must sing with its own throat.”
Whitney Johnson opens a chapter on playing to your distinctive strengths with this melodious quote by Henrik Ibsen,
According to Johnson, “A distinctive strength is something that you do well that others within your sphere don’t. Pairing this strength with a need to be met or problem to be solved gives you the momentum necessary to move into hypergrowth, the sweet spot of the S-curve.”
Why this is important to resume strategy: So many times, I see executives ensnared in the me-too game, fearing missing some elusive brass-ring opportunity by not weaving in the appropriate “visionary, growth-focused, change leadership” language. Unfortunately, this lacks luster and leaves the reader nonplussed. Instead, you should focus on putting vision into action through resume stories imbued by your distinctive strengths. Read: Create Resume Real Estate to Attract Interviews
Whitney Johnson offers methods to discover those strengths including keeping “an eye out for those compliments you habitually dismiss, not because you are being coy, but because this little ‘thing’ feels as natural to you as breathing.”
In other words, what feels easy to us may not be so to someone else, and thus we are habitually dismissing our distinctive strengths. She continues, “The tendency to deflect compliments around what we do reflexively … is understandable … but over the course of a career (or the life of a company), it will leave us trading at a discount to what we are really worth.”
“When you are willing to do the hard work of asking what should be measured, you can measure almost anything,” says Johnson.
Why this is important to resume strategy: While metrics do not make the resume, the lack of measurements associated with your achievements can cause your resume to tumble to the bottom of the candidate stack. Deliberately pairing your contributions to the bigger picture of departmental, divisional, regional and even global corporate results–defined by numbers, percentages and dollars–is imperative to putting the cherry atop your contributions.
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Originally posted in LinkedIn Pulse on October 5th 2015