If you chose 2015 as the year to make a career change, there is a way to use your resume that is more powerful than any way you have ever used it before. The secret to making a change in the right direction is found in the white spaces of your resume.
We get so focused on crafting a resume that supports how we think we should present ourselves to get the next job, that our real selves get lost in the getting-it-right-on-paper part.
Grab your red pen, and comb through your resume, bullet by bullet, word by word and make notes in the white spaces. Draw smiley faces for things you’d like to do more of and frowns for things you want to avoid. Cross out entire bullets and, in the white space, write what you would have rather done instead. The reasons why you’re unhappy, the reasons why you’re tired and bored, and the answers for how to align your career with your overall wellbeing are just waiting to be discovered there.
If 2015 is the year for your change, grab your resume and a red pen and find out what your white spaces tell you! Subscribe to our NewsletterJoin 103,000+ readers and receive daily career tips in your Inbox!
Her new book, LEAP: Leaving a Job with No Plan B to Find the Career and Life You Really Want, chronicles far more than her own experiences with doing just that.
That was probably subconsciously purposeful on my part, so I didn’t have to think about the fact that I was about to leave and didn’t know what was going to happen next. Vigeland: It is somewhat, although I think you can make an argument that is still journalism, especially a nonfiction book like this one.
But it is very much a rollercoaster to figuring out how you are going to manage that — not only an emotional rollercoaster, but a financial rollercoaster and a professional rollercoaster. For some people, it happens earlier or later, but I think there’s something about your 40s where you start to think, “OK, what have I done? Vigeland: One of the things that will either infuriate readers or will make them feel great is that I actually do not wrap it up with a bow.
Uncertainty is something that I have gotten more used to over the last three years, and I’m really glad about that, because it helps me in all kinds of areas of my life. Please contact us for repurposing articles, podcasts, or videos using our content licensing contact form. Tess Vigeland, former host of public radio’s Marketplace and self-identified “Quitter-in-Chief,” challenges us to think beyond the typical small-talk questions about what we do for work. To make their purchasing more sustainable, hospitals and other providers need to identify which data will be genuinely useful to them, capture it all and find ways to incorporate it into their vast and complex purchasing systems.
Hear what CEOs, Wharton faculty, and other commentators have to say about the latest business trends, breaking news and market research in their own words.
Before we know it, we have a document that doesn’t even come close to what makes us feel good about going to work.

We spend so much time on keywords and choosing the strongest action verbs (yes, that’s a critical piece) that we end up moving from job to job, doing more of what we’ve done before, even if it doesn’t make us happy or fulfilled, because we are only looking at the words.
Use it just as you would use a values assessment, a skills assessment or any other discovery exercise.
She didn’t have a next job to go to when she gave her notice, and she didn’t have a solid plan. You write about the process of typing out that resignation letter and sending that email to your boss’s bosses and giving him the letter. I got to interview people, then I went through all my notes, then I wrote the book and then I did some editing. I’ve been doing some backup hosting for NPR, but for the most part, the book has been my life.
I had a period of time where I was laid off from a job, and I went two and a half years between gigs in this business. First of all, you have to get used to having an unsteady paycheck, if that’s something that you’ve had for a while. What more good can I do during my time on this planet, which is getting shorter and shorter?” I certainly have had that question in my mind of whether I’ll go work for the Peace Corps or something like that.
You always have to have something lined up, you always have to be busy, you always have to have a job. It’s too short to be in a job that doesn’t bring you some element of joy every day — or at least every other day.
As tough as the three years have been, as tough as that day was, it was the right thing to do. To implement a career shift that moves you toward career wellness, you must allow the white spaces to reveal how you really felt while accomplishing the things you accomplished, and to honestly assess what you need more of, and less of, in your next move. I had been covering business and economics for more than a decade and six of those were in personal finance. Getting your finances in order is one of the most important things that you should do if you’re thinking about taking a leap.
But I don’t think I even really knew how much that would be the case until a few months after I did it. As you know, working in this business is not the easiest thing in the world, because it’s a talent business. The first six months are really difficult, and part of the reason I wanted to write the book is because I feel like there are so many other career books out there that just say, “Oh, follow your passion and you’ll figure it out and the money will come and it’ll be great.” I don’t think that’s true. It’s something that I think we’re seeing more and more, but we still have that segment of the community – especially because the economy has been slow in recovering – of people who are still nervous about doing something like this.
Then I gave a speech about leaving my job, and I started hearing from people all over the world who had done it and said, “Wow, I’m really glad I’m not crazy…. We are seeing more people at least considering it, making this leap….If you’re in a job, and you’re comfortable and happy, it’s one thing.

I know it’s work, and I actually don’t believe in that whole idea that if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life. But according to Wharton’s David Asch, those programs are too rational in how they deal with the human element. Read what your white space says and combine that information with other tools and assessments for a more holistic and personal view of how to execute a meaningful career shift. But I was there through the whole financial crisis, from late 2007 onward, and had a front row seat to the pain, the angst, the anguish.
I can make my life what I want it to look like.” But then reality comes crashing into your head, and it can really kind of hit you, what you’ve done.
It certainly wasn’t true in my case, and it wasn’t true with a lot of the people that I talked to for the book. When you have those, it feels really great, and you say to yourself, “I’m doing this on my own and I’m my own boss and I’m working out of my house and it’s super.” Then you finish that, and you have maybe a few days, maybe a few weeks where you don’t have a job. I am the first and only one who has ever just left her job without knowing what she wanted to do next.” I’m doing exactly what I told all my listeners to never, ever, ever do.
You just told your story, and this is exactly what I did.” Yes, it is difficult, but it has, A, taught me a lot about myself, and B, it has allowed me to have more  freedom from the whole idea of what your work life is supposed to look like. If you’re comfortable in a job and you’re not happy, you might as well be beating your head against the wall. So the dread was real, because I knew I was giving something up that meant a lot to me, and that meant a lot to my family and my listeners. For a lot of the people I talk to, they were still in the throes of figuring out what their next move was going to be. Believe me; it’s saying something because the white space is where all the good stuff happens.
It certainly taught me that personal finance and figuring out how to manage your money is really, really, really important.
Because I had such a great job and I had been doing it for so long that all of a sudden, I didn’t have it, and I was like, “Oh, well, why do I matter any more?” That’s a very personal process that you have to go through. People say they can’t do it, but you really have to take a good, hard look at your finances. Frankly, if you’re with a potential employer who looks at your resume and says, “What have you been doing for three months — just not doing anything, figuring out what you want to do with your life?” If they question that, you don’t want to work for them.

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