The Fatal Resume Mistake You Won’t Realize You’re Making


If you’ve spent time in the business world, you are probably brainwashed. Most of us are. We’ve been taught a lot of things that aren’t true.

One of the big messages most of us have sucked down for years is the message “The boss knows more than you do.” We grew up believing or at least going along with the idea that managers get to call the shots.

The message “The boss is more powerful than you are” shows up in the strangest ways. It comes out when people write their resumes. Most people understate and undervalue their own experiences.

Often it’s because they don’t think their former boss would approve of a self-confident retelling of their story. They write their resumes as though their boss were going to be editing and approving the finished product!

My colleagues and I at Human Workplace work with thousands of job-seekers. We teach workshops and coach people in person and over the phone. We help them write Human-Voiced Resumes to bring their talents across to people who don’t know them.

We ask our clients about their past jobs, and they say things like “I don’t think I can claim that project.”
“Why not?” we ask. “Didn’t you complete the project?”
“Yes,” they say, “but it wasn’t in my job description.” People are reluctant to claim their magnificent professional accomplishments, even though they did the work and can tell you exactly how they did it!

Here are the three most common answers we hear to the question “Why are you reluctant to include that wonderful accomplishment in your resume?”
I kind of snuck around my boss to get that done. He or she doesn’t even know I did it.
That was another department’s work. We weren’t even supposed to be involved.
My boss wouldn’t agree with my assessment of what I contributed to the company.

Your manager at any past job has no power over you now. If you did something cool, claim it! Most of us write our resumes as though all of our old bosses were standing behind us, peering over our shoulders and evaluating the words we write on our resumes.

It’s your resume. It’s your career path. You get to tell the world what you’ve done, whether anybody else likes or agrees with your assessment, or not!

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