My client and I are satisfied with the latest draft of her resume; she’s provided me with the information I need regarding her experience, skill set and education and I’ve written a resume that we agree represents her accurately and well.

“If you’re ready to sign off on the resume,” I tell her, “I can write the new, searchable Headline and About text for your LinkedIn profile.”

“The resume looks good,” she responds, “so what else do you think needs to be added?”

I’m baffled by this question, more so because this wasn’t the first time I’ve been asked. “It’s not what I think should be added; it’s what is legitimate to add,” is my stock answer. Have these clients been withholding information, waiting to spring it on me as I’m polishing and proofreading?

Of course not; nor are they suggesting that I make up some details that will get them invited in for a job interview (at least I hope not). What this indicates to me is a lack of confidence that their experiences and skills aren’t enough to qualify them for the job they want. Sometimes, this lack of confidence is unfounded, and is a reflection of how poor a marketing tool their prior resume was. However, when that lack of confidence corresponds to a lack of skills or experience, that needs to be addressed.

Experience can only be acquired by actually doing something; asking for more responsibility at a current job, or finding a new one where you could learn while doing would help. Or you could “invent” work, something I’ve personally done myself, and have advised clients to do. This entails finding a problem that you can solve, and solving it for free for an employer. If the employer isn’t interested in what you produced, no matter. You now have an experience to add to your resume.

This post on how to deal with employment gaps explains how to invent work:

Take on freelance projects within your core competency: Let’s say you’ve been unemployed for 2 years. By performing as few as three freelance projects during that time frame, you demonstrate that you are as engaged as you would have been were you employed. Even if paying gigs don’t come your way, invent one and offer it gratis to a potential client. What matters is that you have a documented evidence of work performed that you can honestly list on your resume.

Skills are much easier to acquire. Enroll in an online course, and get whatever certifications are available. As soon as you are legitimately enrolled, you can put it on  your resume, noting parenthetically the date you expect to complete the course or receive certification.

Learn more about my pricing and process.