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What Does Your Resume Say About You?

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

Recently I was helping a client with a resume by providing feedback to tighten it up and polish it. His experience and achievements were really impressive, however, I found a theme. Many of his points were written in a passive voice as opposed to an active one. For those of you who do not remember, an active voice in writing is where the subject of the sentence performs the action whereas, with a passive voice, the subject of the sentence receives the action. For instance, ‘Ronaldo scored the goal’ versus ‘the goal was scored by Ronaldo’ (I thought I would throw a World Cup reference for all the fans). This got me thinking. Can a resume reflect how passive or active we are at work or in life? This may be a stretch but with all the research out there about how our language affects our thoughts and behaviour, perhaps not. Our thought/action style could definitely affect our writing, even a resume.

So what does your resume or curriculum vitae say about you? Resume aside, I know I struggled with writing once upon a time and found some of my language to be passive. This passivity, however, was not confined to my writing. I was passive with some relationships, initiating certain things and in some areas of my business when starting out. This said my writing improved when I continued to work on it, I was active in my initial deficit and became more active in other areas of my life and business too. Three degrees later, with high marks, and a bucket list I keep adding to because I pretty much completed or achieved all I originally set to do, I feel as if I turned things around and continue to do so. Now, what about you? Are you letting things happen to you or are you directing things? Are you active in life or passive? These may be painful questions to ask but I feel they are crucial to see where you are at and where you want to go. Perhaps you are active in certain areas and not in others. The question is, are the areas you are not active in hindering or helping you?

As for my client, I feel he got the lesson on some level too. He changed his resume points and in our last session he kept referring to how he wants to take his job search “by the reigns.” He no longer wants to wait for change but wants to create the change he seeks (thank you Gandhi for the sentiment!). He wants to “drive things more.” That was his ultimate takeaway from our last session: he now wants to be the driver of life as opposed to the passenger. Now, which do you want to be? Does your life and resume reflect that?


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