Permission to Improve

Before (note the gap on the right of photo/front of the bed, the crowding on the end closest to the camera).

After – better spacing and room for plants to grow, a fuller looking bed, and plants more unencumbered by each other.

What does gardening have to do with your job search?

As I looked at the plants I planted yesterday, I frowned.  I had picked my placement of the plants and checked them carefully, two times, before planting. However, I was slightly unsatisfied and felt it could look better, a feeling which only continued today.  As I looked over the plants before watering, I remembered I had the power to edit.  

I removed the plants, moved some forward, some back, some to another place entirely. Ultimately I was very happy with the improvement.  This is my big takeaway from my gardening results that I think is so relevant to people as they begin their job search and update their resume: even though I liked the initial version and heard positive feedback from others, I kept open to the possibility that my work could be improved upon.  Then I acted on it. 

Your resume can be improved upon. 

When viewing your resume, a document that could be fairly unchanged for years at a core level, keep in mind in order to improve it, first, you need to open yourself to the possibility of improvement. When I or any resume writer or professional reviews a resume and suggests changes, it doesn’t mean your resume is bad.  It means the person reviewing can see ways it could be better. I know that certain elements on people’s resumes can be there for so long, that it can be hard to imagine your document without it, but at least starting from being open to change is a good start.

Invite detailed feedback to make your resume its best.

Next, you have to invite feedback in a way that truly encourages people to offer suggestions for changes.  Often, people will skip things they think might be too hard for you to implement or might be more trouble than they are worth.  So tell anyone giving you feedback that no suggestion is too small, and that you want your resume to be the best possible is the right sort of messaging.  Ask for opinions on specific sections or experience. Let people know you are serious about wanting to strengthen the case you’re making for yourself. Let reviewers know what your target position is so they can properly evaluate if you have succeeded in supporting that goal.

Create versions, try advice. 

Last, hear people out and try their advice.  Save an old version and know that you can always go back to that for information, reference, or to use it if you think it is better in part or as a whole. Then you can be free to implement all feedback to see if you like what it does to your resume; to see if you like the finished product.  It’s hard to tell if a change will make a big or important difference until it is in place.  Remember that you have the power of creating many versions, so play around and experiment to see what makes you and your resume its best.  

Good luck and happy editing!

Women: Are You Giving Yourself Credit?


“Studies show that women don’t give themselves enough credit — they undervalue their ability and intellect while men overstate them. You can see why that culture can be off-putting for women.”

That is a quote from this article:

It’s a compelling article and a thought-provoking quote.  For me especially, because it is something I’ve experienced first-hand as a career coach and resume writer. I’ve spent much of my time coaching women simply challenging them to own their accomplishments and contributions – which is KEY when you are writing an accomplishment-driven document like a resume.

There’s so much to work on in terms of self-marketing when you are in a job search, but none of that work (the refining, the crafting, the targeting) can happen if you can’t first claim your career and achievements as your own.

You worked as part of a team on your latest project.  Unless you are in some sort of industry or organization that is organized differently than the rest of the planet, one universal truth is that all accomplishments happen in conjunction with the work of other people.  I admire people who understand this and use this knowledge to get amazing things done.  However, when you are writing a resume, you have to claim your work.  Even if you occasionally want to reference your team and collaboration (which is good in moderation) – if you can’t mention something you worked on without giving all the credit away in the same breath, maybe there’s something else going on.  Maybe you are selling yourself short.  Your resume, your job search, the conversation where you ask for a raise or a promotion (yes, ASK), these are the times to sell YOU.

Are you giving yourself credit?