You are the most important part of your resume. It may sound redundant, but it’s true. Just you. Wouldn’t it be great if your “resume” could just be a picture that captures your “you-ness” and they would just know you’re right for the job?
The general point of a resume is to convey to someone that you are qualified for the job (or whatever it is you’re applying for) based on your education, experience, and all sorts of other words strung together that you think they want to hear.
But how do you go about conveying you exactly? How do you say, “Look, I have this overwhelming optimistic belief in people’s goodness and abilities, and they can actually see that I care by how intently I listen to them and convey their needs back to them?” On a resume, I think that would look something like "good listener and communicator."
Here’s one of my favorites that I’m embarrassed to tell sometimes... I went to Kenya almost ten years ago with a group from our church, including my younger son and daughter. We were visiting an area in Nairobi where we would do outreach with young people in the area and serve in the community.
Before we went, I had made up my mind: I was going to go on this trip and simply be a servant; I was going to stay quiet, and I was going to serve. I know, you’re laughing already. I don’t know why I felt that way. I guess I was in the midst of some introspective reflection period or something.
At the time, I was a youth leader at our church, which involved organizing large events, and coordinating services and timelines. So this time, I thought that I should take a backseat and let others step up and shine. You know, be that “do what your told” person and just observe.
Well, that philosophy didn’t last long. Even though we had very capable leaders on the trip, a situation came up that required an additional element to our outreach days that we had not planned for at all. Our pastors immediately looked to me to head up the group that would take on this last minute side gig. I was fine with that, sort of. I still had that “keep a low profile” thing running through my head. So within this group, I tried to deflect leadership and ask others what they thought we should do. How should we go about doing it? What do you think we need to accomplish this quickly and effectively?
Soon into the assignment, it clicked: Step up and get it done. You have people that are capable and gifted to lead alongside of you, to serve, and follow through. They needed a leader and a director—someone who could make quick decisions, delegate responsibilities, and do it while having fun and remaining in agreement. So I did, and it was a blast.
How many times do we hold back from something because we are trying to fit the mold or be cautious not to step on someone else’s toes?
When has it worked out for you if you said that you were qualified for a position and you weren’t?
I’m not quiet. I’m not a bystander. I’m a great project manager, troubleshooter, connector of people, coach, and facilitator. I’m good under pressure, and I can make decisions under the gun. When I try to sit back and watch, I get frustrated and more than a bit antsy to say the least.
Sure, most of us can “fake it til we make it” for a season, but if you are just pretending and aren’t truly a good fit for something, it will show up eventually. You will either start to slip up, or you will simply become miserable because you’re not using your unique abilities.
Even if you are in a sales position that has scripts, you need to be you—add your own flavor to those scripts, but don’t be gratuitous. For example, if you are a super laid back guy, don’t fake it by talking expressively with your hands in an attempt to seem more “animated.”
You have gifts, talents, and insights that are unique to you. Use them. What are your gifts anyway? Think about it for a moment. What is it that people seek you out for? Advice? Organizational tips? Someone to listen? Or maybe to just have fun? I told you some of my gifts; now it’s your turn.
Make a conscious decision to stop pretending to be something that you aren’t. Don’t try to change your whole persona to fit into a box for a job. Don’t be afraid to reveal your true self to employers and clients. If you don’t, you will end up miserable. Take my word for it.
Take a little test in your head right now and examine if there is anywhere in your life that you are not living “full on.” That is, what parts of your life aren’t the perfect fit? In what areas do you feel you can’t truly be yourself? You’re worth the reexamination.
I’m not saying, “Quit your job tomorrow.” I’m asking if are you utilizing your gifts to the max in both your job and your life? Go ahead, use those scripts when you sell! Then, listen to the person on the other end and show them who you are. Allow them to see your humor, your mindfulness, your compassion, or maybe even your skepticism may come in handy.
You are uniquely qualified because you are the only you there is. You have gifts and talents that are needed in this world. If you haven’t already, seek them out and use them to better your life and others’.
I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made. Your works are wondrous, and I know this very well. Psalm 139:14 CSB
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