I’m always surprised – and delighted – to learn how cathartic it is for an individual to process what has happened to them in their career and begin to heal from their wounds.
Many professionals berate themselves for what they deem as having been poor choices career-wise, whether it be taking the wrong job, staying too long in a job that once worked for them but eventually didn’t, and/or for situations where they received less than stellar feedback from their leadership and didn’t effectively integrate the learnings in a way that made them successful on the job.
Engaging with their experience in a way that brings focus not to those situations but rather to what they have enjoyed across their career experiences brings a sense of continuity of their progression, and often a sense that the obstacles they have obsessed over / felt broken about have actually made them who they are today, uniquely qualified for what is next for them, career-wise.
Thinking about my own career, I learned more from the stage of my career where the startup I worked for went under than many other stages of my professional life.
I find that often the experiences that scarred us – representing what we don’t want to replicate in future career steps – allow us to recognize, maybe for the first time, what we truly want so that we can evolve ever closer to being in a situation that matches our desires and best way of working so that we can truly show up as ourselves and make the contribution we crave in the world.
As a career coach, I get asked this question all the time:
Do you still need a resume in this day and age?
Some of my colleagues would say no.
However, I say yes.
Because the process of writing it is such a life- and power-affirming process. Done right, the resume evolution process serves not just as a list of places you’ve worked and what you’ve done but as a gateway into the next phase of a fulfilling career.
Everyone you talk to will give you a different take on how best to showcase your qualifications on paper. That can be crazy-making, especially if you are the kind of person (like many of us) who takes a lot of stock in what other people say and think.
Resume writing, done well, helps you listen to your own narrative, and find your way through the squishy-ness of how best to present your experience in a light that both makes you feel proud and also makes a compelling case for why you are a terrific fit for the positions you are trying to attract.
Most people miss the opportunity to transform their careers, and in fact a recent Gallup poll shows that only 15% of professionals are truly engaged in their career, with the remaining 85% feeling dissatisfied.
For those who decide to do something about their situation, where the pain of staying the same has surpassed their fear of change, many simply make a cursory update to their resume and LinkedIn profile and then go out and – unfortunately – snare another job that replicates the situation they just left. I feel sorry for those folks, as they often seem genuinely flummoxed, and feel like their career is happening to them. That’s not a good place to be, especially when you hit 45 or 50 and start to feel especially motivated to live – and work – in a way that feels authentically you.
For a small section of the population, they take a different path, choosing to slow down their thinking and take the opportunity to figure out what their vision of an impactful, fulfilling career progression would be, and then proceed with that horizon in mind.
That clear line of sight informs their actions, including how they approach the update to their personal brand, culling through their experiences to date to showcase what they’ve enjoyed along the way, where they have added value, and yes, even the hiccups they’ve had.
What I notice for those courageous few who choose to get intentional: they are more focused in their networking, sit up straighter and can own their gifts more readily – as well as their battle scars – and ultimately, snag the role that makes them feel alive professionally, able to step into their next phase feeling awake, on-purpose and ultimately, successful in a way that truly matters to them.