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The One Question Your Resume Needs To Answer (But Probably Doesn’t)

Source | FastCompany : By TED LEONHARDT 

If you’re searching for your next gig, pull out your resume. Take a look at the experience it recounts and see how well it answers this question:

When did your passion for what you do really begin?

(Note to readers who aren’t even remotely passionate about what they do: You can stop reading here and check out this instead.)


Most resumes are reverse-chronological. They lay out your career trajectory backwards, from your current gig down to your past work. Scan the page through the “Experience” section (or whatever heading you use), get to the bottom, and you’ll see that first job (or at least an early one) listed there, right? In most cases, you’ll be looking at yourself in your mid-20s in an entry- or associate-level position, possibly with a job title like “production assistant,” “junior account executive,” or “sales associate.”

And probably, when you’re talking about your work life—whether you’re interviewing for a new job or just chatting with your friends—you start the narrative off with this early gig. You might say, “My first job out of college was . . . ” or “I waited tables for a while but then I got a real job.”

But you can look at your career arc in a very different way. In fact, you may have actually started your career way before any employer ever direct-deposited a check into your bank account. If you ask me, your career began when you fell in love with doing something—a “something” that remains a vital, core passion to this day.

Why is this change of perspective important? It isn’t just about finding “purpose” and “meaning” in what you do (though that’s important, too)—it’s a much more material concern. I see dozens of coaching clients a year who are in danger of missing out on earning what they’re worth because they think a career is something that starts around age 26 and ends when their Social Security benefits kick in.

For me, a passionate career starts very early and ends in death. Personally, I want to work with people who are so in love with what they do that they can’t imagine ever stopping. And I want to see them get paid accordingly.

Believe it or not, so do most employers.

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