Many of my clients come to me and say “I’m a pretty good writer, but for some reason, I can’t seem to write about myself.” Welcome to the club! I am a professional writer, and write on behalf of others every day. You’d think it would be easy for me to sit down and craft my own resume after writing so many resumes for clients – but nothing could be further from the truth. We’ve been taught to be humble, not to brag, not to show off. Writing your resume or a cover letter requires you to do just the opposite, to proudly declare why you are perfect for the job. And for most of us, that’s not easy. So here are some tricks that can help you uncover your own strengths, and to let loose and brag a little. It’s actually quite fun.
Check your references. This is the most difficult thing to do, at least for me (which is why I put it first. I believe in getting the hard stuff out of the way). Ask previous coworkers, employers, even family and friends what they think your strengths are. Go back through old letters of recommendation and read through them. And then put your feet up and bask in the glow of all these compliments for a while.
Write in the 3rd person. Try writing about yourself as if you were writing about a colleague or a good friend. For this exercise, write down anything that comes to mind and don’t worry about how it sounds. No one will see this but you, it’s just a way to get in the right frame of mind to begin writing your resume.
Enlist a professional. Like, me for example. Shameless plug, I know. 😉 When I work with a client, I spend some time getting to know them and assessing their skills objectively. This allows me to create a solid resume that is about as objective as it gets, since most of my clients start off as people I don’t know.
Most importantly, enjoy the process! It’s not often you get to talk about how amazing you are.