Raise your hand if you’ve put off updating your resume for months. Nod your head if you use the word “hate” to describe the resume-writing process.
Turns out, you’re not alone.
Resume-writing is difficult for a number of reasons, but one common complaint is that it’s tough to write about yourself. Most of us are uncomfortable bragging, and most of us aren’t sure how to view ourselves objectively.
That One Thing
Here’s the one tip that will make resume-writing easier. It’s not a secret, but it is often overlooked: Learn what your natural abilities are, and then lead with them in your resume.
Natural Abilities Defined: things you do well with little time, effort, or energy. They are often referred to as “talents.”
A few things to know about natural abilities:
- People are happiest and perform best when using their natural abilities to the fullest.
- Intelligent and motivated people can work against their natural abilities, but they are rarely happy or satisfied doing so.
- Abilities stabilize early in life.
- Learning the language of abilities allows you to capitalize on your strengths and make better career choices. If you ignore your abilities, you can land in mismatched roles or jobs.
Examples of Natural Abilities, and How to Incorporate Them Into Your Resume
Abilities don’t have to be extravagant to be awesome, and just because you have an ability, that doesn’t mean you have to pursue a career in that area. For example, if you have athletic abilities, you do not need to become a professional baseball player — but playing on a co-ed rec team on the weekends might fuel your soul.
What follows is a list of possible natural abilities and some corresponding language you could use in a resume the describe these abilities:
- Generalist: Thrives in roles with shared responsibilities, task variety, and multiple types of contributions; also thrives in roles where a premium is placed on taking a broad-brush perspective and achieving results through or with others.
- Specialist: Thrives in roles with ultimate responsibility, targeted tasks, expert contributions, and roles that place a premium on taking an authoritative perspective and achieving results using one’s own knowledge or skills.
- Short-Timeframe Thinking: A natural orientation toward roles/tasks with outcomes expected in one year or less, a demand for closure or completion, or roles requiring immediate action and a focus on the here-and-now.
- Long-Timeframe Thinking: A natural orientation toward roles/tasks with outcomes expected in five years or more, a focus on distant targets, or roles that require working toward goals that may take years to come to fruition.
- Observant: Able to notice and remember small visual details, make visual comparisons quickly or automatically, and recall details.
- Great Visual Dexterity: Able to scan tables of numbers or symbols accurately and quickly; highly applicable in proofreading and/or numerically-oriented fields.
Why Only 88 Percent Easier?
Knowing your abilities does make it easier to describe yourself in a resume, but it’s not magic. You still need to create a resume that follows your industry’s best practices and remember all those mundane details about your previous positions. There’s no way around that last 12 percent of resume-writing. For that, I suggest a strong cup of coffee and the help of a good friend.