Humans are naturally competitive. We compare ourselves to others and see how we measure up. While this can provide some healthy motivation, it can also be detrimental if you let it go too far. And there are certain things in life that can’t be fairly compared – such as your resume. It is very tempting to Google resumes in similar fields or check out what your friends have created. But beware of letting these unequal comparisons bring you down. Here’s why comparing resumes can be a bad idea:
Everyone’s career path is different. You may be jealous that your friend is now a partner at their company, but perhaps your own job doesn’t lend itself to that type of role, or you took a break to raise a family. Maybe they’ve been promoted three times and you’ve only been promoted once, but chances are, the circumstances aren’t exactly the same. Focus instead on your own goals for your career and where you want to be; not where others are.
You’re looking at a snapshot of their life – not its entirety. What you’re seeing on their resume are the key points they’ve chosen to highlight. It doesn’t include all of their failures or things that didn’t work. It emphasizes what they want employers to know. Already the playing field is not level for comparison. Be proud of what you have done and the challenges you have overcome. Create a highlight reel for your own career and include on your resume what you want employers to know about your successes.
It creates unrealistic expectations. By comparing your resume to everyone else’s you’re setting yourself up for failure. You’re never going to feel like you measure up or like your resume is perfect. You’ll always find things you wish you could change or accomplish. Use this as motivation to pursue professional development opportunities or consider a job change. Besides, someone may be very successful in a career they hate, while you’re doing something you absolutely love.
It can hold you back. When you’re too busy focusing on others’ careers and accomplishments, you lose sight of your own. This can make it even more difficult to create your resume because you’re set on finding things to include that you think are greater than or equal to what someone else has done. This can also make it very tempting to lie or embellish the truth – both bad ideas. Write down a list of your own accomplishments and what makes you most proud of your career. What did you work really hard to achieve, or feel amazing about once it was completed?
Be proud of who you are and what you have done. Create a resume that is an accurate reflection of your career path and potential. Employers don’t want to hire a bunch of employees who are all exactly the same. Make yourself stand out.
This article originally appeared in Grammarchic.