We have so many of them. Reasons to do things, reasons not to do things. Reasons why something is possible, and reasons why it’s not. Reasons to spend money, and reasons not to spend money. Reasons to give up, and reasons to take action.

Pretty much every decision we make is based on a reason of some sort or another.Choosing Kale

Sometimes reasons conflict with each other. For instance, when I look at discounted mocha brownies in the day-old bin at my food coop, my brain comes up with many reasons to buy (and eat) the brownies. They are on sale! They will taste so good! I deserve it! Yet on most days, I do not buy them, because my reasons for not eating them far outweigh my reasons for indulging. I feel better. I look better. Kale will serve me so much better in the long run. Who cares if it costs twice as much and takes five times as much work to prepare?

Reasons at work in your job search

If you are a job seeker, you probably have lots of reasons to explain why you chose to apply or not apply for a particular job; why someone will or won’t hire you; and even why you are or are not going to hire a resume writer. You can choose to take the easy road, perhaps your default action (buying the mocha brownies), or you can choose to do something a little more difficult that will serve your career in the long term (invest in the kale).

Annabelle’s story

Two weeks ago I got a call from a woman (I will call her Annabelle) who was referred to me for resume assistance. Annabelle had just found out about a position that was available at a national non-profit in Washington, D.C., and she believed she was perfect for the job. The problem: Through her connections, Annabelle had discovered that the hiring process was quickly coming to a close, interviews were done, and the organization was making a final decision on the person they wanted to hire.

Annabelle had also been told by a friend at the organization, who also happens to be a friend of mine, that the language in her resume was confusing and that she should hire me to get it into shape.

Not giving up

Many people would have given up as soon as they heard the words, “We are too far along in the hiring process.” Others would have given up at the prospect of spending hundreds of dollars unexpectedly to overhaul their resume.

Annabelle could have listened to all the multitude of reasons against applying for this position. But she listened to the reasons to give it a shot.

After all, this was a job she wanted more than anything, and no one had actually confirmed that anyone been offered the job yet. Also, there would be more positions open in the future, so it couldn’t hurt to send in her resume.

Annabelle jumped into action. She hired The Essay Expert for two hours at our RUSH rate, reformatted her resume on her own, and, despite having a family emergency intervene in the midst of the process, managed to submit her materials to the organization the next day.

Was it worth it?

The day after sending in her application, Annabelle got an email: the organization wanted to talk to her. She was put through an expedited interview process, and during one of the interviews she could hear one of the managers there going through her resume line by line. He was impressed.

Annabelle moved forward with confidence, incredibly well-prepared for her interviews after having talked to me about every bullet on her resume.

Yesterday I received a call from Annabelle, who told me with great excitement that she had received an offer last Monday for her dream job. A job, you will remember, that was not available until the hiring manager saw Annabelle’s resume.

Annabelle’s job search, beginning to end, for a job at a national non-profit in Washington, D.C.: 4 days. Wow.

Annabelle did have a leg up because she had met the hiring manager at a prior event; her network played a crucial role in opening up this opportunity, as it does for many job seekers. She also believes, and I agree, that “a network can only take you so far; the resume is the only way others can justify your consideration to those who might not know you; it’s your only real voice in the matter.”

She continues (and I promise I did not write this), “No matter how well you think you fit the position, no matter how well you have your contacts lined up, if your resume does not accurately reflect your level of professionalism or capability, hiring managers will never see the true candidate that you are. Having an ill-prepared resume should be the last reason why you don’t go after or get considered for a job. There’s no reason you can’t have a great resume to represent yourself!”

Where are you stopped?

If you are a job seeker, where are you getting stopped? Are you letting reasons keep you from applying to jobs you are qualified for? Are you using a mediocre resume in applications for your dream job because you don’t want to hire someone to bring it up a level or two?

Do you believe that you can find a job in 4 days or do you think such a thing is impossible?

What reasons are you listening to? The ones that have you give up (the equivalent for me of eating mocha brownies) or the ones that will move you forward in your career?

I encourage you to believe that you can turn impossibilities into possibilities if you put your mind to it. Please use Annabelle’s story as an inspiration. And if you have a voice in your head saying, “That could never happen to me,” don’t give up. There is always a different set of reasons you can listen to, if only you are willing.


  1. Great post, Brenda. . . never, ever give up. There are many anecdotes about students who kept plugging and were rewarding — some through sheer serendipity, but actually it was hard work and perseverance!

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