The Deadly Resume Trap that Stops Most of Us Reaching Our True Potential

Writing a resume is tough. After all, getting it wrong could spell the end of your dreams.

But in trying to avoid making a bad impression, most people make a very dangerous mistake. I call it the conformity trap and it can kill your chances of getting the job you deserve.

The truth is that when we are frightened of doing the wrong thing, we tend to play it safe. And the safest thing of all is to look at what others have done and emulate that.

Really want that creative director job you saw posted yesterday? Why not trawl the web looking for samples of resumes by other creative directors.

That will show you what words you should be using and the type of content recruiters will be looking for, and you can be sure that what you submit is deemed acceptable.

The problem is, acceptable isn’t good enough.

There are lots of other people vying for that same job, and the recruiter scanning resumes only has a few seconds to spend on each one. If your resume looks and sounds like everyone else’s, why would she single you out for an interview?

Conforming isn’t the answer

What if you took a different approach?

What if you avoided the conformity trap and wrote a resume that was different from everyone else’s?

The truth is that no one is quite like you. No one has had the exact same combination of experiences, or was born with the same blend of character traits, or developed the exact same set of skills.

And that means no one can do that creative director job quite the way you can.

So why not write a resume that says that?

The secret to a non-conformist resume that gets results

I’m not suggesting that you have to do something wild and crazy. Super-creative can sometimes be a great answer but it’s hard to pull off well and it’s often not the most appropriate choice.

Rather, I’m saying that you should write a resume that describes you and only you, not one that mimics the language and formatting used by someone else.

You might think being unique takes more work, but actually it’s often harder to try to twist someone else’s resume to suit your own background than it is to simply start with a blank piece of paper.

And when you’re done, you’ll have a document that tells employers exactly what you have to offer – not what someone else does.

The difference is remarkable. Just yesterday I received this email:

I have read thousand’s of free resume samples and writing tips over the years and spent in excess of 100 hours on my own resume.

I finally found your website 2 days ago and applied your principles in resume writing from your articles and WOW I was contacted within 15 minutes for an interview today from a company that I had applied twice to previously with no result…I am so happy I am writing to thank you.

So just by telling her own unique story, this job seeker saw instant results. You can do it too, and once you start making the changes, you’ll see how easy it can be to make this kind of amazing impact.

How to determine (and communicate) your unique value

There are lots of different ways to write a unique resume that truly sells. Many of them are covered in my free resume writing course so I recommend signing up now. In just a few days, you’ll have everything you need and you’ll see the amazing difference that this approach can make.

But to get you started, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What talents and skills do people often compliment you on?
  • When you take on a new position, what improvements do you tend to make?
  • What is it about your background that makes you particularly good at solving client/customer/employer problems?
  • What common themes run through your performance reviews, linkedin testimonials or thank you letters.
  • Which projects have you most enjoyed and why? What skills did those projects use?

Questions like this will help you drill down to really understand your core value – that set of skills, attributes and experiences that you and only you possess.

Communicate those in your own words, and you’ll have a resume that recruiters can’t resist.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to either comment below, or drop me a line. I’m always happy to hear from you.

photo credit: petrichor via photopin cc

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