UPDATED ON 12/22/2021
We have all had jobs we hated, but if we dig deeper, these experiences may just turn out worthier than we original thought.
One of the biggest responsibilities of my job as a resume coach is to pore over my clients’ careers thus far. This is the only way to get to the truth of it all and create resumes that is authentic to each individual.
Notably, at some point during this process, there is always at least one job I ask about that would wipe the smile off of people’s faces. All of a sudden, I get this I-don’t-want-to-talk-about-it expression.
Unfortunately, I have to talk about it because it is a part of their careers, especially if it is something that should not be excluded from their resumes. If I do not ask about it, then the recruiters and hiring managers will. So why not practice on me first?
This usually hits a personal trigger, and they start venting. No challenges. Unfair mistreatments. Workplace hazards. Toxic leaders.
They can spill as many beans as they want on me, but there is always a silver lining.
I recently worked with a client who climbed nearly to the top of the ladder in her industry.
As I thoroughly read through her resume, I arrived at one of her earlier positions that sounded somewhat vague.
I asked her, “I know what you wrote on your resume, but from your mind, what do you remember about it?”
She proceeded to say it was the position she was least proud of. Internal issues that she had no authority over left a rather nasty taste in her mouth to this day.
So much so that she completely neglected to see between the lines of two crucial components.
It was her CEO who hired her and her new president who later begged her to stay.
From that moment, I asked her questions that pulled out qualities she had ignored:
- Achieving tasks that were beyond her seniority level
- Exuding her innate big-sister personality to gain respect from her team
- Resolving a crisis with her cucumber-cool demeanor
These qualities transformed her most bitter role to one of the sweetest.
The fact of the matter is we all go through trials in our careers. Some are annoying. Some are sad. Some are infuriating.
Heck, I have had my fair share of horrendous work experiences in my career, even one when I had to seriously question the legality of what I encountered and had to sever complete ties with the organization. So for much of the time, however bad my clients may feel their experiences were, they could not beat mine.
That said, after many years of reconciling with those personal resentments of mine, I have been able to not only resolve those issues, but also see those events in a more optimistic light.
Besides, how does the saying go again?
We survived despite the injustice that has been done to us, nevertheless. Every ship at sea is guided by lighthouses, and it is our responsibility to recognize them.
So the next time you need to write or rewrite the description of a not-so-pleasant position in your past, ask yourself:
- Despite the bad things that happened, what did I learn?
- What was I most proud of doing while there?
- What did I do that was recognized and praised by at least one person?
- Who liked working with me? Why did they like working with me?
- What stressed me out at the time but now makes me laugh or feel amused?
Search your memory for those things and you’ll find yourself being more triumphant than ever.