I recently was asked to speak with a woman about her resume. She was directed to me by someone who said she needed a new perspective on her job search. The woman was trying to restart her career after going through a terrible family crisis. Many people gave her resume and interview advice, but she was still getting limited calls from potential employers. Her job search was turning into frustration.
We spoke for a while. I had her tell me about what she could bring to a new role. She gave vague answers, but I could feel her passion. I also questioned her about her resume, which was long and lacked a real demonstration of who she was.
At the heart of our discussion was that she had a passion and drive for providing excellent customer service, but was having difficulty describing what that looked like. To help her start understanding herself, I went back to some basic behavioral interview techniques. I asked her to give me a specific example of a time when her customer service went way above what was expected. She had been recognized for outstanding customer service on several occasions, but still, she struggled telling me her story. She wanted to learn how to do this, but was running short on patience and money.
I gave her two suggestions:
- I asked her to write down her strengths. Not the cookie-cutter, standard resume strengths, but areas where she excelled. When I asked her to do this, my job seeker spoke more to me about her areas of opportunity than her strengths. I wanted her to see her own value which would translate into a resume that truly reflected her. This then could be discussed with confidence during an interview.
- I asked her to write down her stories. Her examples and narratives that drove home her strengths and key elements for the position she was seeking. Since she was looking for a job in hospitality customer service, I asked her two write down five of her “save the day” customer service experiences.
I told her to use these suggestions to work forward in her job search, bringing the language and feel from the two exercises back to her resume instead of the other way around.
She loved the idea. She was excited to give the suggestions a try. She was excited because she had new perspective on her job search. Something out of the standard way a half dozen other people told her. Her motivation was reinvigorated.
With so much information available for our own personal development and job success, we often get caught in an endless loop of reading or viewing the same information or asking the same people for help. We stay in our comfort zone. To move forward, talk with people outside of your comfort zone. Or if you know someone who doesn’t seem to move their own development forward, help that person get a fresh perspective.
Cued Forward can help you or someone in your organization take a fresh look at personal development, career paths, and resumes. Feel free to reach out for a complimentary “About You” discussion.