paNASH blog


How to Write a Resume: Make it About THEM, Not You

Below is an answer I provided to a Quora question that has nearly 200,000 views so far.

Shock is the reaction I usually get when I say what I’m about to say. Your resume is not about you. Thinking it is, is one of the biggest mistakes you can make on your resume. Here’s what I mean:

A few weeks ago, I was working with two different people to help them polish up their resumes. One was a client seeking a pay raise and promotion.

The other was one looking for a new job following a layoff.

Resumes for both clients had the same common mistake: they were void of any results or accomplishments from their past jobs or positions.

This is a HUGE mistake because it’s the one thing people reviewing resumes are looking for the most!


When I first suggested to each client we add in some results of their past work so their resume doesn’t read like a generic job ad, one said, “I was just there to do a good job, I wasn’t seeking any kind of glory.”

While this is a noble approach to good work, job seekers have to understand that including accomplishments on their resume is not about them.

The moment you say, “I don’t want/like to brag,” is the moment you’ve made it all about you.


Resume Truth Bomb: It’s About Them!

Including results of your past work on your resume and talking about those results in an interview or a performance review IS NOT ABOUT YOU!

It’s about what you can do for the company’s bottom line, which is all the hiring manager really cares about (typically and mostly).

Your resume should always speak to your audience’s pain points by showing how you can solve their problem.

The way you show this is including the results and accomplishments you’ve had when solving similar problems in your previous jobs.

The reader knows past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

They’ll want to learn more about you if you can show how you’ve excelled in the past in problem solving.

But you have to speak their language.

And you must connect the dots between your past experience and your audience’s current needs.


How to Make It All About Them

In order to do this, you must know something about your reader.

This is why you must research the company you’re applying to.

This is also why you can’t rely on one blanket resume for each job.

It’s important to really analyze the job ad to figure out what the company needs from the new person in the role.

Start by looking at what are the top 3–5 skills listed in the requirements for the job.

Can you think of a specific time when you’ve demonstrated each skill? What was the result? Can you quantify the result? How did it impact the company’s bottom line?

  • Did it increase profit or revenue? By how much?
  • Did it decrease spending? By what percentage?
  • Did it save man hours? How does this translate to dollars saved?
  • Did it increase customer satisfaction or decrease customer complaints? By what percentage?
  • Did it make processes more efficient? How much time did this save?
  • Did it boost staff morale? How much did productivity increase with this boost?

By showing the byproducts of your good work, the hiring manager can infer that you can and will produce similar results for them.

Not sharing those results will leave the manager wondering if you’ll be a productive and valuable addition to the payroll.

Don’t keep your reader guessing!


The Result of Including Results on Your Resume

Defining your results and being able to articulate them tactfully is one of the biggest challenges of a job search or promotion negotiation, but there is help.

I work in depth with my clients on how to properly word their results and accomplishments for both their resumes and their responses to interview questions.

By doing this, my clients gain a better understanding of their skillset and greater confidence in their net worth, resulting in successful salary negotiations, higher salary offers, and better promotions.

Are you looking to get hired, earn more, or advance in your career?

If so, now’s the time to learn how to do it with a little paNASH! Click here to get started.


Sunday Inspiration: Prepare Yourself

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: the nature of this post and its wording is not intended to support any political views or agendas. Instead, it is intended to reiterate the importance of career preparation as outlined in my most recent blog post, “How to Know When It’s Time to Get Career Help.”

In fact, this post isn’t about politics at all. It’s only about helping you achieve your life and career goals.

Any similarities or timeliness to current political events is purely coincidental.

Besides, it was written by someone else a couple of years ago, so I can’t take credit for it. I’m just thinking its deeper message might speak to someone who currently finds themselves working hard on their goals and in need of a word of encouragement to keep going. Whoever you are, enjoy and be encouraged!

“We rebuilt the wall…for the people worked with all their heart.” Nehemiah 4:6 NIV

To succeed, Nehemiah needed favor with his boss, the king. So he prayed that this heathen potentate would finance the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. It was a bold prayer, and it wasn’t answered overnight. But Nehemiah didn’t sit around waiting.

In the meantime he put together a plan, assembled a team, and scheduled a date to begin the work. That way when the king said yes, he was ready to move.

Some folks think if God’s going to do something, why should we do anything?

Then there are those who think they don’t need God at all, so they try to do it on their own.

But both extremes are wrong.

Sometimes God has to balance what He’s doing in your life with what He’s doing in somebody else’s life, so that “all things work together for good” (Ro 8:28).

In Nehemiah’s case, waiting for a letter of authorization from the king and funding for the project was like waiting for a government grant—it can take a while. But the Bible says, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Pr 21:1 NAS).

Nehemiah exercised bold confidence in God’s willingness to provide. He also understood that while he was waiting, it was his responsibility to prepare and set things in place so that when God gave him the green light he was ready to move.

He exercised faith—and wisdom. He knew he couldn’t do God’s part, and that God wouldn’t do his part.

So the word for you today is: “Prepare yourself!”

Source: https://www.jentezenfranklin.org/daily-devotions/prepare-yourself-2

How to Know When It’s Time to Get Career Help

My freshman year of college I found myself struggling in my college algebra class. In fact, my entire class was struggling.

That’s because our professor always let us out of class 20 minutes early and never assigned us any homework. At first we all thought this was great! What college freshman wouldn’t?

But when it came time for final exams, it wasn’t so great. None of us were prepared for the common final.

I was falling behind in my understanding of the material due to the professor’s teaching methods. But it was also my fault because I didn’t demand he spend more time going over sample problems.

And I didn’t seek tutoring, at least not right away.

I was embarrassed to get tutoring and put it off until it was almost too late.

Once I got help, I realized there was no way I could expect a tutor to teach me 12-15 weeks worth of college algebra in just three sessions to prepare me for the final.

I also couldn’t expect to crash study and do well on the exam.

By some miracle, the common final wasn’t as challenging as expected, and I squeaked by with a passing grade. But my GPA that semester was the lowest of my entire college career.

When I later became a college career adviser and professor, I noticed two different groups of students who took advantage of tutoring services.

  • The students who waited until right before an exam to seek tutoring.
  • The ones who attended tutoring sessions all semester in preparation for the big day of finals.

One group consisted of A students. The other consisted of D and F students. (You rarely saw any B or C students getting tutored.) Can you guess which group was the A students?

You Can’t Afford Not to Seek Career Help

I was reminded of this scenario in a recent conversation with a new client. She commented on how much she’s learning from our career coaching sessions. And how it’s something she should’ve done a long time ago.

Now she sees the mistakes she’s been making in networking and interviewing. She concludes this is what’s cost her some important potential connections and even some job offers.

She also commented on how much time it takes to learn and apply what we’ve been covering.

In other words, it’s not something you can wait to do until right before a job interview. Or right before you have to send off a resume.

Yet, I have so many people who wait to contact me after they see a job posted or have an interview scheduled.

In the case where they see a job posted, usually by the time they do all the things necessary to get their resume up to par, the posting has already closed.

You can’t write a resume in an hour, a day, or even a week. It requires numerous revisions which take time.

Once you have an interview scheduled, you shouldn’t spend your time learning how to prepare for an interview. You should already know how so you can spend your time applying what you’ve learned.

It’s too overwhelming to try to learn so much information in a short amount of time, while trying to also do your research on the company, prepare for your questions, and shop for something to wear.

Don’t Risk Making Bad Career Decisions

All of this is especially true for those of you who are feeling a desperate need to leave a bad job situation.

So many people come to me after they’ve reached their breaking point in their job or their business. They’re so ready for a much-needed change.

But it’s at this point they run the risk of making bad career decisions, even with the help of a career coach. It’s because they’re making these decisions while emotional and before putting a strategic plan in place.

I know people who were on the fence as to whether they should invest in career coaching or not. Then they were forced to make a decision because they got a call for a job interview the next day and now needed to know how to improve their interview skills. While I could give them some tips, I couldn’t cram all the info I had to share in one session.

They’re no different than me when I finally sought tutoring. But unlike my final exam, the grade for an interview is always pass/fail, and only one candidate passes.

You Can’t Just Wing It!

Interviewing is a skill you should already have in your back pocket. You should be so schooled in it you’ll be ready for a job interview at a moment’s notice.

And don’t think you can just go in and wing it. This approach may have worked for you in your high school jobs or entry-level jobs you’ve gotten in the past. But the further along you are in your career, the more is going to be expected of you in an interview.

It’s never too early to learn how to interview well. The skill comes in handy not just for sporadic interviews but also for impromptu performance reviews, promotion opportunities, salary negotiations, etc.

It’s Never Too Early to Start Perfecting Your Job Search Skills

While it may not always be the right time to leave a desperate situation, it’s always the right time to prepare for your exit. Knowing how to update your resume and interview well are the first steps in doing so. Being armed with this knowledge will help you get out of a bad job sooner than later.

When you do have to pull the trigger, make sure you always aim before firing.

Some signs it’s time to get career help before it’s too late include:

  • You’re already entertaining the idea of leaving your current job for something else.
  • You’re experiencing the beginning of physical illness due to a stressful or toxic work environment.
  • It just became clear there’s no longer room for you to grow or advance.
  • You can’t picture yourself in the same job or same company in the next 1-3 years.
  • Rumors about a downsize are circulating at your company.

You don’t wait until you’re in a car accident to buy auto insurance. And you don’t wait until you’re dead to see a doctor. So why would you wait until your career is collapsing to consult a career coach?

You can start today!

If you know your resume or interview skills are way too rusty and you need to be ready if you got a call requesting your resume or an interview tomorrow, you can start improving your skills today with paNASH’s on-demand courses.

These courses include Resumes That Get You The Interview and Steps to Acing the Interview and Reducing Your Interview Anxiety. They’re available 24/7 for you to work at your own pace.

You can also get one-on-one career help now instead of waiting until the last minute. Complete the paNASH intake form to get started.

There’s no need to feel embarrassed about any past career mistakes or interview failures. Instead, you can focus on learning how to not just improve your job search skills, but also land better job offers and negotiate a better salary.

Related Posts:

career help

Are You Stuck In a Nightmare Job? Share It Here!

Some of my clients hire me to help them find their dream job. Others hire me just to help them get out of their nightmare job.

I’ve heard some stories about nightmare jobs that are real doozies. But none of them beat my dad’s story of his first job out of high school.

A Real Nightmare Job

My awesome and wonderful dad will be 82 in a few months. He still remembers his nightmare job working in a funeral home in 1955 right after his high school graduation. Back then, new and inexperienced employees were allowed and expected to perform some duties now requiring certain licenses or certifications.

There was one particular incident where the funeral director was working on a body that hand just undergone an autopsy. After the funeral director had finished embalming the body, he told my dad to finish cleaning it up. My dad says he remembers the visual of a body following an autopsy and how it nearly made him sick.

As my dad made his way toward one end of the table to finish the clean-up, he suddenly felt the body’s right arm hit him in the butt! It turns out he either bumped the table or did something to cause the right arm to fall off the table and hit him.

As soon as my dad felt the arm on his butt he fled the embalming room so fast he probably left a dad-shaped hole in the door. He said to himself, “Forget this! I’m joining the Marines instead.” And a week later he did.

Luckily being a Marine turned out to be my dad’s dream job. He spent 20 years in the military, retiring as a captain. Despite experiencing the horrors of Vietnam and now dealing with disabilities associated with his military career, he’s said to me a few times recently he’d go back and do it all over again.

I can confirm he’s never said the same thing about the funeral home job.

How to Escape Your Nightmare Job

You  too may have a nightmare job you’re dying to leave. But you don’t have to run off and join the military to do so. (Although it might be a great option for some people.)

I’ve written several posts to help people like you create an escape…oops, I mean an exit strategy…from their nightmare jobs, in financially responsible ways. Feel free to check out any or all of these posts:

What’s Your Nightmare Job?

In the meantime, I’d like to hear from you.

What’s your nightmare job, past or present? Tell me about it and I’ll make sure to feature the worst, funniest, and most interesting stories in upcoming posts on this blog.

Click here to submit your story for publication, using the subject line “nightmare job.” Or enter it in the comment box below. I can’t wait to read it!

If you need help getting out of your nightmare job, fill out the paNASH intake form and we’ll set up a complimentary initial consultation.

nightmare job

Sunday Inspiration: Do You Have a Passion That Surprises and Delights?

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly blog posts. Enjoy!

Meet Ed. Ed is a friend of mine I met about three years ago in an art class I took. He’s a retired guy who has a heart for helping other people make the transition from career to retirement.

Ed also has a passion for a rather unique skill he learned 40 years ago. This skill isn’t something he set out to learn. Instead he remained open to the idea of new things, and as a result found a passion that not only surprised him, but also surprises a lot of people. It’s a skill and passion he doesn’t earn money for, but instead uses to give back to others.

As you read Ed’s story, think about when the last time was you kept yourself open to learning something new. Do you have a skill or passion that maybe doesn’t earn you money, but gives you joy when you use it to give back to others? Does it serve as an outlet for you and give you purpose?

Ed’s Story

I play spoons. I’ve played spoons for over 40 years, ever since my wife surprised me for my birthday and took me, along with the friends she had invited, to a concert.

Two gentlemen representing the Smithsonian Institute were touring the country playing a concert of authentic American music—sea chanties, Dixieland jazz, blues, and a host of other music all born of the diversity we have in this country. The highlight for me was “Turkey in the Straw” with Jew’s harp, washboard, hambone, and, my personal favorite, the spoons.

At the end of the concert, we were invited to see the instruments and get a spoon lesson. Before that day, I’d never seen or heard spoons played. I was surprised and delighted.

Our party then headed back to my house for birthday cake. The guitars came out, we raided the silverware drawer, and we all tried to play spoons.

 
Here Bill, Lanette, Sheryl, and Carol all give the spoons a try in our living room.

Shortly afterward, my friend Earnie asked me to join a small group to play at a church gathering. Since I couldn’t blow on my clarinet and sing at the same time, he said, “Bring your spoons.” I spent that summer learning to play spoons—and sing at the same time. The effort has paid off with a lifetime of fun and meaning.

The group Earnie formed grew and became the Blakemore Boys Bluegrass Band. For 35 years we sang at church events around town, also for the infirm and homebound. We took our music to hospital beds, visited nursing homes, and did special fundraising concerts and caroling. One highlight was performing and recording a Christmas cantata that Earnie wrote.


Earnie, John, Earl, Kathy, Mary Ellen, Bob, and I surprise the neighborhood as we sing carols door to door, fundraising for a Nashville daycare center.

Bob, one of the band members, then invited us to form a new group that plays almost exclusively in nursing homes. September 2018 marked our eighth anniversary of playing at least three times a month. Our repertoire of gospel and old hymns is very popular among patients and staff; most everybody knows the words and many sing along as they are able.


The camera caught Earnie, Bob, me, Clare, and Jim by surprise.

Surprise and Delight

I tell you all this to offer a backdrop to 43 years of what I call surprise and delight.

One of the earliest things I did after learning how to play the spoons was to invent and use the “Happy Birthday Cha, Cha, Cha.” It’s pretty much the same as the original except that most lines end with “cha, cha, cha.” I lead the singing of that at most birthday parties I go to at home or elsewhere. But for me, the most fun is at restaurants. You see, I try to make it a surprise.

My favorite gambit is to solicit some volunteers to be a cha, cha, cha chorus. I like to find a table with two to four youthful guests. I’ll go sit down with them. By the time I’ve shaken everybody’s hand and introduced myself with, “It’s good to see you,” two are convinced they know me but don’t remember how.

I invite them to come sing cha, cha, cha backup and surprise my friend. So… off we go back to the table where the birthday boy or girl is usually very surprised—and once the embarrassment wears off—delighted as well.

I’ve done this so often and for so many years nobody in my family is embarrassed any longer. People do get wary, though. Our friend Lanette wanted no surprises at the Spaghetti Factory and asked whether I’d brought my spoons. I truthfully told her I hadn’t, but when it was time, my wife passed me the spoons we’d hidden in her purse. It’s all about surprise and delight.

I also like to show up and play impromptu with different bands. I have played with a Dixieland band on a Mississippi River paddle boat, a mariachi band in a restaurant, an Eagle’s cover duo on St Martin’s Island, and a Cajun band, as well as several street bands in New Orleans. I also got to play a solo with a jazz quartet in the swanky Court of Two Sisters in New Orleans at a Mother’s Day brunch. Very cool.

  
My wife and I play with a Cajun band, and I play with a street band in New Orleans.


I definitely surprised the jazz group on Mother’s Day!

As often happens after I play, two kids invited me over to show them how the spoons worked. They were surprised and delighted.

One time the table was turned on me. When I was leaving a restaurant where we’d celebrated my daughter’s birthday with my signature song, I heard coming from the kitchen the unmistakable sound of two spoons banging together. These weren’t just the usual kitchen noises! I found some of the wait staff trying to work with spoons to get the sound right. I took some time and gave them a spoon lesson. I was surprised and delighted that day.

I was surprised and delighted again one afternoon in a nursing home. We saw a mother and daughter on the sideline that afternoon. Mom had her head on her daughter’s shoulder most of the time, but she was singing along with her daughter. Afterward, the daughter came up to thank us for “bringing Mom back.” Mom had Alzheimer’s and hadn’t talked in over a year. The daughter told us that she had grown up singing those songs to her mother’s piano playing. For that one brief hour, we were able to bring Mom back for an encore.

I was surprised and delighted.

Singing in nursing homes is fun but also eye-opening. Some patients walk to the performance on their own. Many more have some sort of conveyance like a walker. Still, others are brought in a wheelchair or bed. It’s not uncommon to see people hang their heads and slump in their chairs. Some even seem asleep.

After the music one afternoon, I went out to meet and greet some listeners. I saw a head rise off the table; I stuck out my hand to shake his and said, “Hi, I’m Ed. Did you enjoy the music?” Straight away I felt his grip tighten on my hand and heard a whisper, “Oh. Very much. It was great.” I had thought he had slept through the whole concert. But no. I saw an unmistakable light in his eyes.

I learned a valuable lesson that afternoon, one that I hope you take to heart too: Surprise and delight are universal. I knew that kids could be surprised seeing spoons played. I knew that musicians could be surprised and sometimes delighted by hearing a well-placed burst of rhythm from what they thought an unlikely source. But… I hadn’t known that even if you can’t talk anymore or raise your head or clap, there is still room for surprise and delight in your heart.

Never give up on life. Take surprise and delight with you. You may one day be like the man who couldn’t raise his head off his arms but was still open to surprise and delight.

Ed Zinkiewicz
…the retired guy