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What’s In A Perception?

Perception MattersSo what’s the big deal with how others perceive me?

I can’t control what another person thinks. I can’t force them to change their mind about me if they have settled on some incorrect perception.

The big deal is that those other people are making decisions that affect you. To the extent that their perception about who you are and what you bring to the professional table is incorrect, so will their decisions be.

Decisions like whether to hire you, promote you, invest in your training, or in the worst case, lay you off in a recessionary season.

While you cannot make someone see what they will not or cannot see, you can exert influence.

Our conversation topic this month is how our resume can be a powerful perception influencer. That is, if we accept responsibility for choosing how we present our professional interests and work history.

Begin by listing three responsibilities you would love to have in a job, even if you don’t have any work experience in them.

Now turn each of them into a job title, however silly it might sound. For example, if I want to be in charge of the development of a new product and lead the process from beginning to end, I might call myself a “Project Manager” or a “Lead Designer” or a “Brilliant Idea Implementor.”

The idea is to create for yourself some job-related vocabulary that would be helpful for describing yourself in terms of what you want to do next.

Try it. Share one or all three of your desired responsibilities and corresponding job titles in a comment here.

On your side,

- Karl Edwards

Don’t forget to sign up for our Resume Workshop: A Fresh Approach to Career Advancement coming up in Los Angeles on February 7th! Or contact us for information on inviting us to your community.

4 Responses to “What’s In A Perception?”

  1. Bradley J Moore Says:

    Good thoughts – Like they say, “Perception is reality.” It’s important to have others give you honest feedback, and then (the hard part) we actually have to use that feedback to help us grow. Sounds like you’ll be doing some of this in your seminar. Should be extremely valuable.

  2. Karl Edwards Says:

    Hey Bradley,
    Good to hear from you. It’s interesting that when it comes to perceptions, we are tempted to mask the realities we fear others will see, instead of, as you point out, get feedback based in reality.
    We have more skills, capacities and attributes to bring to the professional table than we think we do.

  3. Andrea Emerson Says:

    Great tips, Karl.

    Here’s something I’ve done to differentiate my resume (feel free to let me know if this is a crummy idea): I created a sidebar where I sprinkled testimonials from previous bosses and clients. I haven’t had to use my resume in a while, but I’d like to think the built-in endorsements would keep me on top of the resume pile…



  4. Karl Edwards Says:


    I think that’s a great idea. Thanks for sharing it here.

    It’s also an interesting visual break for the resume reader’s eye, which is important given how many lists they are having to sort through!

    – Karl

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