Saturday, May 12, 2012

Career Advice: Write a Fake Resume

Yes, that title was meant to get your attention, and no, I'm not talking about embellishing your resume or making up skills you don't have so that you can get jobs you would otherwise be unqualified for. (Besides being unethical and deceptive, I think that job-hunting technique will always come back to haunt you one way or another!) This is actually about a non-traditional goal-setting method I've used that has helped me significantly.

What I mean by a "fake resume" is the resume you WISH you had and know you are capable of having someday, if you meet certain goals and develop certain skills. I think it's important to create this resume, not to give to potential employers, but simply for yourself. It's a tactic that has helped me get inspired and start thinking outside the box for creative ways to turn the items on my fake, idealistic resume into real accomplishments I can really tell employers about.

I have used this technique when I hit some roadblocks in my own job search, and it has helped me a lot to refocus and redefine what I want to be unique and attractive about me as a professional. I started with my real, unembellished resume and things I've actually done. Then I jotted down some of the goals I have related to my career: jobs I might want to have, languages I want to learn, computer skills I want to develop, articles I want to write, extracurricular opportunities I want to be involved in during law school. Then I started adding some of those "goal" items to the resume as if I have already accomplished them, or simply expanding upon things I've already done to make them more impressive. This document is just for me--and when I have those additional accomplishments on paper and want to be able to legitimately give it to an employer, I feel really inspired to go to work to tackle those goals so that I can!

For example, on my fake resume, I didn't just write an honors thesis (an item on my real resume). No, I published my thesis in the International Journal for the Psychology of Religion. In this resume, I'm not only fluent in Spanish, but also in Korean. I write for my school's law review journal and have published a few articles on research topics I'm interested in (the articles have titles and everything). I have already earned the advanced certification in legal research and writing that my school offers. I am a member of a moot court team and have won an award for oral arguments. Have I actually done any of these things yet? No. But these are all based on specific goals that I have for accomplishing these items within the next couple of years, and writing them down in resume form, as if I've already completed them, has a pretty powerful psychological effect on my motivation. The trick is to be as specific as possible about putting your goals into written form--the way you would if you had already met your goal and were able to chat about your accomplishment with an interviewer. It makes me see these goals as being doable and also really desirable, because once I have them on paper, I want to be able to keep them there--which means I have to DO them.

If anyone else has hit a plateau in career planning/ job searching, I hope this method will prove helpful for you.

1 comment:

What do you think?