Category Archives: Resume Writing


The One Problem With, ‘The Truth About Your Calling with Seth Godin & Marie Forleo’


Interview on Marie TV – “Marie Forleo talks to the legendary Seth Godin about handling failure in life, overcoming writer’s block, self-doubt and starting something that matters right here and now.”

If you need some inspiration for creating and living a life you want in 2017, this interview with Marie Forleo and Seth Godin should provide exactly what you need. While the messaging has a slant towards setting up your own venture, it is equally relevant to those who are employees, or maybe looking to set up a side business.

There is one major area I disagree with in the interview, where Seth talks about finding your passion and the dream job or business. He says that it does not exist. The fundamental problem here is that like so many, Seth Godin falls into the trap of getting fixated on a job title or business type, a label if you will. Rather than the person, their values and transferable skills. Our careers are fluid not fixed. We get too caught up on the labels of what we should be doing and what is a great job or career that makes sense or is socially acceptable. We forget that it is not about the label, it is about knowing who we are and what matters most to us. This I think is passion.

In the interview, Seth Godin cites people such as Steve Jobs and that if he was born in a different time in history the iPhone and iPod etc. would not have been created. Steve Jobs would not have had the label or job title he did.  He misses the point, for I believe that whatever period Steve Jobs was born in, he would no doubt still have been a visionary and an innovator – regardless of the widget he created. His skills, attributes and values would have fed into something else. Seth Godin continues to cite a few other famous people such as Vincent van Gogh, making the same points around labels. Again, I put forward the same argument. All the examples he references have a theme in that they are people who had a decent level of self-awareness and who would have made a wonderful contribution to the world, however it was packaged or labelled.

The message from the interview is to back yourself and that the best time to act and live the life you want is NOW. Which I 100% agree with. There are a wold of possibilities for us all.

For me, it all comes back to our level of self- awareness, combined with the confidence to act. The more we know about ourselves, our values and behaviours, our core skills and personal attributes, the more chance we have to channel these into a myriad of career paths that we will find rewarding – even be passionate about! Rather than looking for the one elusive dream job, we need to reflect on who we are, what we love doing and what the world needs!

Click to watch the video 



Your Resume & Personal Information

photoWhether or not to include your street address details on your resume is a personal decision. In my view and experience I believe it is unwise to do so.  There are a couple of reasons. Firstly, including your postal address is a left over from the days when people posted their job applications – pre email! This was done so the employer had somewhere to post the unsuccessful letter (something very few employers send via post or email these days). Secondly, given it serves no real purpose, it seems unwise to be sharing where you live with complete strangers. Particularly in an age of identify fraud. Certainly include your name, mobile and an email address – this is all the personal information that is required.

While on this subject of giving out unnecessary information, the same can be said for referees. This is private information that should only be provided to a prospective employer once you are into the recruitment process. It is acceptable to simple state ‘Referees will be provided upon request.’

More recently people have started to include their LinkedIn profile address on their resume. This again is an optional not an essential.

I welcome others views and experiences on the topic.

Powerful Words to Sell Your Skills, Engage the Reader & Get the Interview

Most Executives and Senior Professionals find preparing their resume a challenge. As a result the resume is put together quickly and reluctantly, and reads like a chronological list of their education and work experience. At its basic level this is what the resume needs to be, however if actually want your resume to stand out and engage the reader, more energy needs to go into how you write about and sell your skills and experiences. It is difficult for most of us to sell ourselves effectively in a couple of pages of text, yet essential for job search success.

Quantify and Qualify Your Skills!

A sentence that says you have ‘exceptional interpersonal and communication skills’ is largely a waste of text! It tells the reader nothing, yet many resumes have a listing of skills or competencies with no supporting evidence to demonstrate them. You know why you are skilled in certain areas however unless you can communicate them to the reader in a powerful way, they are empty words.

Including specific examples, where you can demonstrate these skills or competencies in a past or current job is crucial as they create a picture in the readers mind and offer credibility to what you are saying. Without it, the words are pointless. If you cannot quantify or qualify everything in your resume (aside from your personal details) then the information is taking up valuable real estate that you could be using to really sell yourself to the reader and secure that next brilliant role.

Always avoid including lists and sentences that don’t describe in detail with a relevant example your skills or competencies. Rather than, ‘I have excellent client relationship skills demonstrated through 10 years in Sales‘, the example below tells the reader you deliver client satisfaction which is more important than how many years you have been using these skills. Being specific and outcome orientated wins hands down.

Example: Client Relationship Skills: In over 100 client assignments I have never received negative feedback from a client. I have used each new project as an opportunity to develop my client relationship skills to ensure their continued satisfaction.

Below is a listing of words to assist in selling your skills more effectively in your Resume and in the interview. These relate to everything from data to people and systems. Using powerful action orientated words create a positive impression.

 Accomplished  Administered  Analyzed  Built  Completed  Composed  Conducted  Controlled  Coordinated  Created  Decreased  Delivered  Demonstrated  Designed  Developed  Directed  Eliminated  Established  Evaluated  Expanded  Founded  Generated  Guided  Implemented  Improved  Increased  Initiated  Instructed  Invented  Launched  Led  Maintained  Managed  Modified  Motivated  Negotiated  Organized  Originated  Participated In  Performed  Planned  Produced  Proved  Provided  Recommended  Reduced  Re-organized  Researched  Revised  Saved  Sold  Solved  Streamlined  Supervised  Trained

The resume is often only looked at when you change employers. Such an important document warrants more attention and together with these tips you should see your resume have more impact.

Tips to Write & Sell Work Achievements in Your CV

Achievementsare a critical part of your resume, perhaps more important than responsibilities, and therefore should be given prime resume real estate. Ensure that any achievements that are already listed on your resume are engaging to the reader and actually quantify or qualify what you have achieved. If they are fairly un-inspiring due to how you have presented them, either edit or remove them and update with more exciting and relevant examples. When describing your achievements, remember to think about how your reader is interpreting what you are saying. A couple of well written, relevant examples paint a more positive and engaging picture and far outshine a long list of basic and poorly written achievements.

Consider reading the following statements whilst reflecting on your more recent jobs. Take down notes of situations that come to mind.

Have you designed or introduced a new process that may have increased efficiency or sales?

  • Have you solved a difficult problem?
  • Have you received any awards?
  • What has been your experience with managing or training difficult people?
  • Have you mentored or coached colleagues or those external to your business?
  • Have you developed a new system, a product, etc?
  • Have you designed something?
  • Can you think of something you have done for the first time?
  • Have you prepared any reports, papers, articles etc that others could not?
  • Have you saved your company or department money?

It is worth compiling this information as it happens, get into the habit of documenting your achievements either as they occur or regularly with enough detail that you can recall what you did when it comes to updating your resume. With these examples at hand, it will help enhance your resume and create more compelling stories for the interview. When documenting your achievements, it is important that they are detailed, relevant and engaging to the reader. Below is a weak and strong example of the same achievement.

Weak Example: The introduction of new rebate initiatives, that was successful in saving the company a substantial amount of money.

Strong Example: I successfully negotiated revised annual trading terms by offering lower rebate terms to the company’s key accounts through incentive targets and the introduction of promotional rebates. This initiative generated a cost saving of $700,000 within six months of the change.

If you are unsure if your achievements are coming across strongly, ask a colleague or friend to review.

Word Clouds – For Job Searchers & Career Changers

If you are a visual person who prefers to make sense of things like job ads and position descriptions visually there are a couple of great free word cloud services out there that can help you do just that such as  I have used the wordle service to create the attached image around everything to do with job searching and careers.
When assessing a job ad or position description for the key skills and attributes the organisation is seeking, a word cloud can be a good tool to extract the data. Give it a go and see what you think.

Why life is too short to be doing a job you don’t enjoy!

For most of us work dominates our lives, regardless of if we are doing a job we enjoy or not, or earning a good or bad salary.  It is suggested that work occupies 75% of our waking hours – which includes all working activities, from getting ready for work, driving to work, working, driving home and anything extra we do for our jobs.

What is astounding is the fact that most people spend more time planning a holiday than they have ever spent on planning their actual career.  I kid you not. This could account for why only 18% of people are actually enjoying their jobs

Talk to any successful person and they will tell you that they had a career goal/s in place supported by a strategy and set in place the actions to achieve them. They also no doubt worked dam hard to get where they are, both working on and in their careers. In turn they generally experience both personally satisfying and financially successful careers.

Taking a proactive approach to career management combined with dedicating time and energy into understanding what it is that drives you and setting in place the motions to achieve results is very empowering. This exercise ‘Looking to make a job or career change’ offers a good starting point.

It does take courage, plus time and sometimes money to achieve the career you want, however given how much of our lives work occupies and that fact that it is how we derive our income it is surely worth it.

You can access lots of great free career resources via the Six Figures site. And/or alternatively you can engage professional support from a Career Coach or Strategist like myself to help get you on your way.

Remember, life is too short to be doing a job you don’t enjoy!