I love soups made from scratch. The aromas, the explosion of fresh flavors from all the ingredients… yum! You just can’t get the same culinary experience from a can of condensed soup or a package of dried bits and powder that has to be reconstituted.
However, for all that goodness in a mug, you have to work to make it happen. It takes more than opening a can or a package, mixing in water, and warming up the contents for a few minutes on the stove or in the microwave. There’s lots of washing produce, chopping, dicing, measuring, stirring and monitoring in the early stages of getting the contents on the stove.
The steps to make homemade soup were once so daunting to me that I rarely (if ever) undertook the endeavor. I simply dreaded the process involved in making them. It was so overwhelming! And, it seemed, when I tried to do it, the results were never as good as what I could get in a restaurant.
Until, that is, I figured out how to make it better. I started using better tools — no more cheap, dull knives! I began to prepare for cooking before stepping in front of my stove. I ventured beyond just salt and pepper to season my soups. The overall impact of these changes transformed how I viewed the process of making soup at home and really amped up the flavor.
Now consider your résumé. How did you put it together? Did you:
- use a service that has you fill in the blanks, choose a format, and wait as it generates a résumé?
- look at the résumé templates that MS Word has to offer and plug your information into the designated sections?
- search the Internet for résumé samples, and when you found something that sounded similar to what you have done, you copied and pasted the contents into your own résumé?
If that describes what you did, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. The document that you are relying on to represent your unique talent, accomplishments, and value isn’t unique at all. At a minimum, it will look like the many other pre-fab résumés that hiring managers will see; at worst, it is a copy of what someone else (perhaps a direct competitor for an opening) put on his/her résumé. The résumé you are counting on to get you an interview is as dull and flavorless as reconstituted soup.
But if a robust résumé is what you want, you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and do some work.
1. Start using better tools. A good place to start is to determine if there are any untapped resources that you are overlooking; someone in your circle of support who is in HR or who is a hiring manager could be a great tool in identifying what works and what doesn’t on your résumé. Or perhaps you should consider partnering with a career professional to create a résumé that better reflects who you are and why companies should interview you.
2. Prepare for the task ahead. There is a lot more to résumé writing than sitting in front of your laptop and listing your skills, job duties from past employment, and educational background. Think about:
- Projects you worked on
- Roles you have played within those projects
- Challenges that you have faced
- The successes you experienced
- The hard numbers that quantify your successes
- What you have learned and how you have grown
Getting all of this information written out before starting on your résumé not only gives you talking points for the various sections, but it also allows you to find common threads that help you form the personal brand that articulates the value that you bring along with you.
3. Become more adventurous with the features you include. Now don’t misunderstand me — I am not necessarily advocating for you to get completely crazy. As with anything that you use on your résumé, be sure that you know what is generally accepted in your field. But there are some things that could be done to enhance it that would be missing if your information was simply plugged into a general template. What about:
- Adding a splash of color?
- Including a QR code that links to a project you have worked on?
- Citing a snippet of your supervisor’s comments from a past performance review?
- Pairing those cliché phrases with specific examples showing how you live up to the hype?
Which would you rather have — a résumé that is dry and lifeless, or one brimming with the flavor of your amazing career? The effort you put into it will make all the difference.
Image: Vegetable soup with beef broth I have been fond of recently (It’s not your average veggie soup recipe, either — it has turmeric and cinnamon in it. Delicious!)
Does this article resonate with you? Let’s work together for you and your career!