From time to time I’ve helped some friends with résumé advice. One pattern that has struck me: certain people appear to punch way above their weight on paper, while others waaaay undersell themselves. The latter group includes humble, self-deprecating servand leaders, but it also often includes underprivileged or minority people.
This is such a shame. For these people to tell their true story, show their whole set of capabilities, would be such a big step towards them getting their due recognition.
Here are a couple of quick pointers I’ve found useful when assisting these amazing, humble people:
When describing your work, don’t just say what you did, say why you did it.
- What was the context in which your work was done?
- Why was the project important in the first place?
- What problems existed before you arrived on the scene?
Numbers and Impact
What was the impact of your work? If it saved money, increased revenue, or improved productivity - by how much? What future benefits did your work enable? What state did you leave things in?
Let them say “I want her to do that for my company!”
Uniqueness, Initiative, Passion
- What did you do that no one else could or would?
- What did you start, or finish, that other’s didn’t?
- What have you mastered?
- What is something new you are excited to learn or are learning now?
Writing a good resume is a delicate balance. The initial goal remains to make the recruiter/HR person say “great match!” within the first 10-15 seconds at a quick scan. At the same time, it should provide depth and nuance for future interviewers. Don’t undersell yourself, fearless warriors! Show your uniqueness and go get that job you want!