I bet you’ve thought a lot about your resume (hopefully), and you may have even spent some brain power evaluating your “digital footprint,” but have you ever considered your “invisible resume?” I recently read a terrific piece by Dr. Vicky Gordon, CEO of the Gordon Group, a Chicago-based leadership and organizational development consulting firm, for the Harvard Business Review that explains the concept and offers job seekers a lot to think about! (Hat tip to my friend @jonathanduarte for tweeting about the article!)
Your invisible resume, in essence, is your reputation! Just as your digital footprint impacts how people will think about you, your reputation, as the old saying goes, absolutely precedes you. When is the last time you stopped to think about what your supervisors and employees think (and say) about you? You don’t want your “invisible resume” to be, as Gordon notes in her post, “visible to everyone but you.” If you are a little foggy on the subject, Some examples from the Harvard Business Review piece:
The vice president of sales for a major technology company delivered the numbers quarter after quarter. Relentlessly pushing for higher sales, he thought of himself as passionate about the business. During a 360Âº feedback exercise, he discovered that his colleagues saw him as “unreasonably demanding” and “a slave driver.”
The co-founder of a highly successful online company had difficulty delegating responsibility. He would assure people that he would get to the work that went into his office, but somehow he never did. As a result, his colleagues regarded him as untrustworthy, and people began to question his integrity.
Gordon makes several suggestions to help you increase your awareness of your “invisible resume” (bold points are her’s, commentary is my own):
Find out what’s on your invisible resume. The only way to do this is to actively make a point to consider what other people are thinking about you. Ask them!
Ask your manager for substantive feedback beyond perfunctory annual performance reviews. Do you know how you stand in the pecking order of your organization? Would you be surprised to be passed over for a promotion? Not all managers are skilled at offering useful feedback. It’s your responsibility to manage your own career. In this case, ignorance is no excuse. Make it your business to find out what you need to know. Gordon suggests “going directly to HR or…asking your manager.”
Begin to rewrite the story. If you find out that your invisible resume doesn’t read the way you would like, it’s in your hands to make a change. Changing how people perceive you is not easy, but with direct communication and some honest reflection and work, it is not impossible. You may even want to consider enlisting the help of a coach to address your needs and create a plan for change. The fact is, you will need to change how you act in order to adjust how people perceive you. It is not easy, but you can’t do anything unless your recognize the problem and move for change.
Establish channels for ongoing feedback. Gordon recommends “regular 360 degree feedback…augmented with more frequent feedback from a trusted peer.” She reminds readers that it is a good idea to identify a trusted mentor who can offer honest and useful feedback.
Periodic self-assessment. It’s easy to be “too busy” to purposefully manage your own career. I advise my clients to “drive their own career bus” with regard to the job search, and the same advice applies to anyone who hopes to go places professionally. Stop and identify areas for improvement before it’s too late!
photo by aidanmorgan