In a recent call to get to know a new business associate I was pleasantly surprised when he began describing his background in very personal terms. Instead of delving in to his lengthy work history he shared a moving story of how he had overcome sickness and emotional pain to re-invent himself after a series of mostly bad career choices.
The conversation got me thinking about how little our professional resumes, online biographies, and LinkedIn profiles tell others about who we really are. For the most part they center career conversations on where we have worked and titles granted. They don't encourage reading between the lines of job bursts. They rarely reveal what people truly value, what we have overcome, or express the full extent of our hopes and dreams.
Even Facebook, which attempts to bridge the personal and professional, limits our profile information to relationships, likes and interests, and education/work history.
We all know it's glimpses of the heartfelt and humorous, alongside a deeper sharing of life experiences, which tell us more than two pages of job and education history (or sporadic Facebook updates) ever could.
So I decided to try something different. I decided to craft a resume with the goal of showing who I really am. I began with a summary of qualifications which goes like this...
"After four and a half decades of living I feel like I know some things - at least enough to be dangerous. Basically I am still a kid in a grown up body, although I still take things far too seriously most of the time."
I then listed a series of major childhood experiences and life changing events. Finally I added in my core values, spiritual beliefs, things I am most and least proud of, and topped it off with my wildest dreams and aspirations.
I know if handed the final result to a job recruiter or posted it on a career site most reviewers would think I am nuts and quickly move on. No doubt I would be laughed off the pages of Monster.com.
But If anyone really wanted to get to know me and potentially hire me my personal resume is what they should read first. I would much rather have someone get to know me for who I am deep down than what the standard resume format of "job in, job out" permits me to suggest.
Regardless of what it says on your own resume or bio, and how you plan to represent yourself to prospective employers, it's worth it to remember how one dimensional that piece of paper really is. You are are so much more than the sum of your resume parts.