That problem in your background? It isn’t as bad as you think

I’m taking on online sketching class at the moment. I’ve always loved painting and drawing, and I’m finding this a particularly rewarding way to work. But I’ve noticed a lot of the students are very uncomfortable sharing their work. They’ll preface each post with caveats like ‘this isn’t very good’ or ‘I don’t like this one at all.’ Usually, the drawing is excellent – full of life and personality and character – but all they see is the perspective mistake they made early on, or the wonky line that they tried to correct.

It’s a cliché to say we’re all our worst critics – but clichés become clichés because they’re so true.

Do you worry that you have a problem in your background?

It’s certainly the case when it comes to our own career backgrounds. I got an email just last week that sounds like thousands I’ve received over the years. This young woman was concerned that she didn’t have a degree from a prestigious school. She felt employers were ruling her out because of it.

Lack of the ‘right’ degree is a common concern among job seekers, but so are many others – age (too old or too young), experience (too much or not enough), industry (too much time in one industry or not enough time in any one industry) and career gaps – these are just a few of the concerns people share with me.

My answer to all of them is the same: just like the sketchers in my class, you’re focusing on the wrong stuff.

Here’s what matters

The truth is that no one is perfect. Every resume will have this or that problem; every one of your competitors is worried about something in their background.

Stop thinking about the things you don’t have, or the gaps in your experience. Instead, focus on all the good things about your background, skills, experiences, and accomplishments.

If you write a powerful, positive and results-focused resume that communicates exactly why you’d make a great employee, you’ll get results regardless of that problem you’ve been worrying about.

To learn more about how to do this, check out these resume writing articles or sign up for our free resume writing course. Once you see what’s possible, you’ll be able to drop that nagging worry for good!

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