“I love how it’s written, I’m just not sure it’s me….it just makes me sound so much more awesome than I am. I think I’m overstating how good I am. Does it sound like I’m bragging?”
The struggle is real.
I have written resumes and LinkedIn profiles for everyone from Directors and Senior Vice Presidents to new graduates on the hunt for their first ‘real’ job (and everyone in between). And every client I’ve worked with has the same fear. Every. Single. Person. loathes talking about their accomplishments, and breaks into a cold sweat and stammers awkwardly when they’re asked to talk about their achievements.
Instead, we fill our résumés, cv’s and LinkedIn profiles with a list of things we’ve done, regurgitating our job description onto a piece of paper. But we are not our list of responsibilities. Rather, it’s how we attack those responsibilities that makes us hireable and sets us apart.
Imagine you’re an accountant. Every single accountant can list the same responsibilities:
- Documents financial transactions by entering account information
- Reconciles financial discrepancies
- Prepares asset, liability, and capital account entries
- Prepares balance sheet, profit and loss statement
What the bullet points above don’t tell you, is how well you executed those duties. If every accountant can list the same tasks on their resume, and you’re applying for a job with a bunch of other accountants, how do you stand out?
Easy. Talk less about what you did, and more about how well you did it.
Instead of ‘reconciled financial discrepancies’, mention the fact that you introduced process improvements to your company’s record keeping procedures that resulted in a decrease of the total number of overall errors.
Speak to how you streamlined your financial transaction workflow to automate parts of your record keeping that freed up your time to work on other projects.
Or, even better, talk about that time you noticed office morale was low so you organized a team contest or event. Or that big project you spearheaded that wasn’t even in your job description.
Start thinking about how you can make your résumé and LinkedIn profile, a little more about you and just how freaking awesome you are, and a little bit less about your ‘to-do’ list.
Using the list below as inspiration, write out everything you’ve ever done that makes you proud (volunteer work and personal accomplishments count too. You have a black belt in Jiu Jitsu or are an excellent photographer? Write it down), and find a way to weave these kick-ass achievements into your job search.
If you find yourself stuck, ask a friend or colleague to weigh in. Their answers will probably surprise you
For the record, every single achievement you write down is a fact. Stating a fact isn’t bragging. It’s simply telling the truth.