EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT RESUMES


Submitted by Bob Benway, CCC Volunteer Career Coach and Assistant Professor at National Lewis University

Emotionally Intelligent resumes stand out in the pack because they add a personal focus that makes them uniquely written by people who are emotionally connected to their work and are intensely aligned to the needs of their clients, work associates, and business partners.

I recently worked with a Community Career Center (CCC) member who had his resume professionally rewritten.  This resume was properly formatted, and filled with key words and phrases that spoke to his background in manufacturing operations management.  His accomplishment statements were all well-structured, quantitatively reasoned and reported, and associated with measured outcomes benefiting the organizations in which he worked.  This was a textbook example of an expertly written resume.  But there was one problem that stood out.  There wasn’t a shred of evidence in his resume that he addressed the social and emotional needs of his clients, employees, or business partners.  In fact, reading through this resume gave me the impression that it was written by an automaton about an automaton.  Yet the member I talked with is an articulate guy who projects honesty and concern for his fellow man, not at all consistent with the impression given on his resume.  And his background is operations management, so you’d think he’d plaster his resume with stories of motivating people.

My advice to the CCC member was that he should pull up this resume on his computer, and read through it again.  But this time he should think back about what occurred as he carried out the responsibilities and accomplishments he documented in his resume.  How satisfied were the clients and customers with their products and experiences working with him and his company?  What did his employees learn and how did that help them build their own careers?  What impact did his actions and decisions have on his business associates and their willingness to work with him again?  And what were the overall influences on the relationships, commitments, and trust levels in those with whom he worked? 

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage your own emotions, and those of others, simply put.  Psychologist Daniel Goleman (Goleman, 1995) identified 5 areas essential to high emotional quotient (EQ).  They are: self-awareness, self-regulation, social skill, empathy, and motivation.  Years of research has shown that successful leaders demonstrate high emotional intelligence, though some believe that leaders who are highly intelligent as measured by intelligence quotient (IQ) are just as if not more successful without having high EQ.     

Here’s an example of how emotional intelligence could work in a resume.  Imagine the following accomplishment statement.  Decreased the rate of incompletely assembled packages by 37% over 12 months for a savings of $455,000 in returns and refunds.  Notice this statement, which could be construed as an impressive accomplishment, completely ignores the impact of this action on customers, employees, and business partners.  Adding the emotional intelligence touch results in the following.  Decreased the rate of incompletely assembled packages by 37% over 12 months saving $455,000 while markedly improving client satisfaction, employee motivation, and business partner trust.

So if your career search target is in an occupational area of high competition such that you want to stand out, remember to position your resume as a mirror image of your emotional self, as well as a chronicle of your success story on the job.

Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. New York:  




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