Achievement statements are critical to a good resume, but for some people talking about their accomplishments is a highly uncomfortable process. This may be because they were raised that bragging is wrong, or simply that they don’t know how to identify or articulate these successes.
One of the biggest benefits of the resume development processes is assisting an individual to navigate this process in a way that helps them reflect, appreciate and articulate these moments.
The following are three tactics to help engage a client who is reticent or struggling with achievement identification.
- Take the Pressure Off. Many people find the thought of talking about their successes uncomfortable because they feel they are bragging. You can alleviate this by reframing the term achievements as ‘evidence’ rather than feats or successes. Explaining that the resume, like all aspects of the selection process, is now an evidence-collection tool for employers enables the individual to alter their perception from ‘talking up’ to simply gathering data.
- Take the Focus Off Them. Most people are more comfortable talking about issues than themselves. Start by asking the individual what was going on in the business at the time. What wasn’t working? What was the toughest part of the role? These questions allow people to start talking in non-personal areas. From here you can then follow-up with questions about what they did in response to these issues. This moves the focus onto their actions. When they have talked about their responses you can finish by collecting the final part of the equation – the all-important metrics. This enables you to elicit a solid CAR achievement from even the most reluctant client.
- Give people a starting point. A lot of people find it overwhelming knowing where to start when asked to list their achievements. To help with this, give them a starting place to focus their thinking on. This can be a time. For example what was the most difficult part of your role when you started? What was your first priority in the role? Opening with this type of question can help them think back in a logical fashion. Alternatively you can give them a framework to think about their achievements. This may be by asking “what were your KPI’s’? What were you judged on in your role?” or “how did your boss know you were doing a good job?”. These give people a focus and equally beneficially are usually linked to strong metrics.
Guiding clients to reflect, identify and articulate their achievements in past roles makes writing compelling career narrative not only easier for the resume writer but better positions the individual to be able to talk comfortably in the interview. That makes it a worthwhile exercise for everyone. Win-win!