Three Strategies to Increase Your Career Marketability and Confidence Beyond Your Resume

By Jan Tanaka

So I ask you, beyond your resume, what story will your career tell?

The day I facilitated my very first leadership module, I was a little nervous, a little excited, and a lot sick to my stomach. I walked into the training room, took a deep breath and began my presentation. About an hour into the session, an older man raised his hand questioning my knowledge. He questioned my right to be where I was: at the front of the room, leading.

For a moment I fought the tears. Then I fired back. I explained that, while I may not have known everything there was to know about that day’s topic, my life experiences had taught me a great deal about leadership. By the end of the module, he had become one of my biggest career supporters.

Uncover Universal Intelligence
Universal intelligence is gained when we implement our everyday experience and knowledge within our career. Create an “experiences timeline,” your “life resume.” This is a personal inventory of critical experiences that have occurred in our lives, linked to lessons learned and leveraged to demonstrate your knowledge and skills.

“Experience is the Teacher of all Things”
For example, consider all your leadership positions in the past. This can include parenting, a sibling or even the head of a group project. What experiences have you gained that are relevant in the workplace?

Build Your Board of Directors
Your board of directors is a team of people who represent your personal interests. There are three positions I want you to ensure you fill: a mirror, a mentor and a sponsor.

The mirror is your professional best friend; someone you can open up with, but who will reflect hard truths. They will keep you aligned and on track.

The mentor is someone who is where you want to be. They act as an advisor, sharing their knowledge and experience.

The sponsor. My favorite definition of sponsorship is from the book, “Knowing Your Value,” which states that “sponsors will do more by using their connections and their influence to advocate for an employee.”

Promote Your Purpose
Why would someone want to promote, hire or recognize you? Your response should reflect your purpose, not your position. This opens you up to greater opportunities.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
That is a powerful statement from Simon Sinek, author and speaker. With this mentality, a front desk agent can boast that they set the tone for the guests’ entire stay. A restaurant host becomes a dining experience expert. A mother realizes that she’s a personal development coach and event coordinator.

I once shared that my mission is to bridge the confidence gap for women in the workplace. If I had just said, “I’m a corporate trainer,” I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am here to encourage all women to embrace their whole selves and use their stories to build marketability and confidence in their careers.