I saw a great meme the other day: an image of a leashed tabby cat wearing a vest inscribed with the words ‘Police Dog.’ The kitty even had a badge. The caption was, “This is what happens when you lie on your resume.” I’m not a cat person, but I loved the meme and I write a lot of resumes.
In yoga class last week, I practiced between two women. After the class we talked a bit, as yogis do. The woman on my left asked me about my work. When I told her that I write resumes and blog for people, she gasped. “I feel so deceived!” I didn’t have the heart to tell her that like most comedians and politicians, many job seekers and professionals don’t always write their own material.
The woman on my right works in HR. She added that resumés that are not written professionally often do not make it passed the applicant tracking systems (ATS) that so many companies and organizations use today. But she also bemoaned the fact that some of the professional resumés she sees are misrepresentative. I told her about the feline police dog.
We laughed at the time, but I take it very seriously. As much as I want to give the Resumé, LinkedIn, and Professional Bio clients I write for added experience and extra credentials, I always keep it real. The more authentic the resumé is, the better the position won will suit my client.
But it can be surprisingly difficult to write your own resume. Many people have a hard time saying great things about themselves. They are afraid to appear braggadocious. I don’t have that problem. In fact, I take delight in saying great things about my clients. During our discovery process – even in our initial exploratory phone call – I am able to inspire clients to speak candidly about why they are so good at what they do. Their answers are often so compelling that I end up quoting them in their career communications documents.
Having been trained in giving positive feedback both as a writer and a yoga teacher, I easily see the good in my clients’ talents, skills, and characteristics. Most of them fascinate me. My job is to translate that fascination into their authentic stories.
Authenticity is the key.