What is a resume?!

Akshay Ramanathan
3 min readJul 1, 2021

I was at a July 4th BBQ, explaining to someone my passion for career coaching. Upon raising the subject of resume writing I could sense a bit of discomfort.

This wasn’t the first time this had happened and knew that many people didn’t like updating their resume. But for the word alone to make someone cringe so clearly, demanded a deeper look as to why it is that this document fills many with fear?

And why would some rather waste away in a job and life they hate… rather than just update their resume?

Sounds dramatic right? But the stakes are real.

After reflecting I came up with this:

We have overidentified with our jobs, and a resume is a reflection of our professional identity. So when someone judges our resume or is quick to shoot it down… it hurts. And it feels personal.

I myself used to experience a sense of shame, guilt, embarrassment, and a general feeling of just not being good enough.

I had accomplished a lot and worked very hard in all facets of my life, and yet…

Just before writing this post, I was editing the resume of a neurosurgeon.

Yes. A. Neurosurgeon.

A man to whom life is literally as complex as brain surgery.

So it intrigued me as to why this accomplished doctor started to squirm and was clearly uncomfortable when we begin discussing his resume.

A resume should inspire a healthy sense of pride. I believe a resume should promote strength drawn from valuable experiences, and inspire faith that there are solutions for any new challenge. In addition, it should communicate, your skills, the results of your effort, and beyond that shine a light on the limitless opportunities that are available.

I beg this question of you because it’s what my life’s work has come to revolve around. Which is helping others experience and understand, that as professionals, they are so much more than, and capable of, that which only their eyes can interpret in the mirror.

It’s taken me 15 years to figure out, but after tremendous reflection and introspection, this work is undoubtedly what I was put on this planet to do. My students, clients, and future community members are the tribe I have been called to serve.

And I know so because nothing in this world that brings me greater satisfaction than when I see or hear them, see themselves in a new light. All the accolades and praise one may receive from the outside, pales in comparison to when it comes from within. In that state of mind, you’re unstoppable.

There is a Harry Potter-like magic that illuminates their being and to witness the transformation of someone who now sees themselves as so much more, is indescribable. And the energy that fills them, makes them look and feel indestructible.

I help young professionals, career changers, and bold industry veterans looking to wipe the slate clean and start all over. I help them see their resume not as a static Staple’s product, but instead the introduction, summary, and table of contents to what I have come to call their “work story.”

Regardless of the unique demographic and psychographic nature of these groups, one thing I note clearly persists:

The word “resume” in the context of submitting one, sharing one, or updating one, has been enough for folks to give up on new job searches, disregard aspirations of foreign fellowship programs, and basically throw in the towel and just slump over in their seat.

I wonder why this is, and oh do I have many ideas. But in the absence of my answer and analysis, I now turn to you.

How do you feel about your resume? About the word in general? What emotions does it conjure?

If you or anyone you know needs help with their resume please reach out to me at akshay@mysixfiguresuccess.com.

To offer you my services would be a gift.