Stop undervaluing yourself – Start realizing how great you are

Yesterday I was looking over a resume for one of the ladies in LevelUp. I had the same thought I almost always do when reviewing a resume. “She doesn’t realize how great she is.” This woman runs a business, founded multiple community organizations, and has an excellent education. Unfortunately, her resume didn’t show how dynamic and capable she is. I know how this happens. As women, we frequently downplay our success’ and achievements or all-out miss them. The stuff to brag about gets lost, and often forgotten, in the business of going on to the next task or project.

Think about it. You do this, don’t you? I do too.

This is magnified when you don’t work in a typical corporate environment. Without the corporate HR circus, we don’t have the forcing function of analyzing our performance regularly. For those of us that flipped the bird to Corporate America to go after our own endeavors, we really enjoy that we don’t have to sit down for annual reviews, that may or may not be accurate. However, we often don’t take the aspects of the corporate HR world that benefit us.

In many environments, you have to submit very regular updates on accomplishments and project progress. I lived and died by a Weekly Activity Report (WAR) for many years. I didn’t even do them very well, I rushed about all week and when it came time to do my write up and call it a week, more often than now, I sat there blankly. “What the hell do I write here.” I didn’t feel this way because I wasn’t getting ish done, but because I was already thinking about what had to happen next. The moments where I said to myself, “Yes! I crushed that.” were only as long as it took me to walk to the next meeting, or open the next email.

Think about it. You do this, don’t you? I still do too.

On the other hand, I knew that my success required me to have these together. I knew that I needed to be able to articulate my value to the team and the client, I still do today. That’s just business, it isn’t negative. Your success requires this. You have to be able to understand AND articulate what you are doing to help and bring about the desired outcomes.

You: “Megan.. what the fluff does this have to do with a resume?”
Me: “Everything.”

Okay, let me walk you through this. Your resume is meant to be a summary of how great you are. It is a peek into who you are, what your knowledge base is, the experiences that shaped you into precisely the amazing woman reading this today. It is the big picture made up of all the individual parts. Think of a photo mosaic. No matter if you are pitching a client, applying for a position, or asking for promotion this is a valuable tool. For your entire working career. No matter what you are doing. Yes, even if you are a freelancer. Yes, also if you run your own business. If people compensate you for your time and efforts, you need this. Hell, if you are working for free, you need this. Change my mind.

I won’t go into the different resumes and their uses, how to tailor one for a specific position or any other nuts-and-bolts of a resume. Snooze…. Instead, I want to talk to you about what you need to be doing to have the information you need to put it together in the first place. This will save you tons of frustration and anxiety when it comes time to put one together.

Keep a Brag File
The WAR I put together weekly forced me to do this. Each week I had to articulate what value I was bringing to the client and the company. I captured the wins. I documented the progress. When it came time to put something together, I had all those notes. It was a massive time saver. So a simple Word Doc is just fine. Be sure to have dates and note the essential qualifiers if you can  (how much, how long, how often.) It doesn’t have to be pretty; it just needs to have critical information and details.

Make it a priority
Set a time for yourself each week to capture these things. Friday as a final bow on your workweek is really lovely. Other options are just a running doc you fill out between meetings. However, it works best for you! Just be sure to do it regularly before you have moved onto the next thing, and lose your memory of what the heck happened.

Review it occasionally for EVEN BIGGER brags.
It is hard to see some of the more significant achievements that happen over time because we are in the thick of the day-to-day. Going back and reviewing your Brag File after a while is an excellent way to see the bigger stuff. This is how you catch more significant items like “promoted early 3 years in a row” or “Managed 3 projects under budget and on time simultaneously”.

I want to hear from you! – Let me know how it goes! Do you already do this? What is your method? 

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