My wife has been looking for a job in Chicago for a few months now, and she is frustrated. The job market (especially in her field) is bleak. She put her resumé in for a part-time position recently, and the guy hiring told her that he received 80 resumés in less than a week for a job for which he was expecting to hire a student. The search sucks.

However, I think the hardest part about trying to find employment is the concept of "selling" yourself. How do you do that without sounding like an arrogant ass? You are supposed to accentuate (exaggerate?) your strengths, ignore your weaknesses, and basically show them why they would be idiots not to hire you. However, you don't want to sound like you are over-confident or incapable of working with a team or taking instruction from a boss. You are supposed to be a "self-starter" who can follow directions... seems like an oxymoron.

My wife struggled with this for a while, but I think she found a great way to allow her resumé to build her up while still showing humility. Instead of singing her own praises, she gathered quotes from former co-workers, colleagues, and supervisors and placed them in the margins. Not only was it a creative use of a part of the paper that goes unused, but it shows that those she has worked with/for valued what she brought to the table. It's like sneaking in extra references while enhancing the visual presentation of the resumé. Smart.

Still, it is a tough balance to market yourself as indispensable while not sounding egotistical.

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