The Mindset to Build a Winning Resume

I did a webinar presentation for the National Urban League’s Jobs Network as a part of their Digital Career Success Series on what everyone needs to know about building a winning resume. I answered questions that my company, Consultants 2 Go, receives from potential candidates. The main message of the webinar discussed how identifying your current mindset can help to create a resume that will make you a well-sought after commodity.

Resume Pre-planning is the secret sauce. Most people don’t take the time to really assess where they are from a mindset perspective. An unemployed person is in one of the following Five Stages of Grief, laid out by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. The stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In order to create a winning resume, you must have the right mindset. Your current stage dictates the verbiage that shows up in your resume.

  • Denial: In this stage, you’ve lost your job and refuse to pack your personal items because until the day you walk out the door, you still have some hope that they will change their minds. If you are in this stage, you are not ready to sit and write your resume. Your resume will be full of present tense verbs. If you didn’t already keep your resume up to date, take some time before sitting down to write.
  • Anger: The anger phase can last for years. You are angry if your language is one of hurt and sounds like this, “After all I’ve done for this company, I cannot believe that they let me go. I hope that project fails without me!” You should not go near a computer to write a resume.
  • Bargaining: In the bargaining phase, you simply want a job. You’ve tried everything and nothing is working, so you create a resume that shows that you can do everything and an expert in nothing. You are hoping one of the jobs you have will hit a chord with your interviewer.
  • Depression: You cannot fathom even going near a computer to, yet again, update a resume that will not be noticed among the thousands that are submitted. Why bother? In this mindset, your resume will reflect your attitude with common spelling and grammatical errors because you haven’t taken the time to spellcheck, or sentences are unfinished.
  • Acceptance: You understand that there are budgetary reasons why you were let go, or your salary is too high, or you were the last person hired…whatever. It financially impacts you but you don’t take it personally. You can now start to look at being unemployed as an opportunity to try a new industry, go back to school, or post for another position within the same company. Your resume will show results that are targeted to the specific job description. You use keywords from the job description to ensure your resume has a high likelihood of being selected from among the applicants.

In what mindset are you? Have you done an honest assessment of your life/work experiences vs. the information on your resume? Finally, make sure you have different versions of your resume geared towards the particular job to which you are applying. Good luck.