Owner | Career Consultant | Coach
RockIt Career Consultation Services
Since we started our business, I think it's safe to say that there is one common theme among just about every client we've met. They have a hard time talking about themselves. Once they do, it's even harder for them to tell us about all the wonderful things they've done in their life. Unfortunately, we have been taught to be humble and to downplay our accomplishments. Nearly everyone we speak to tells us the same line, "I just did my job."
Ok. You're not wrong. However, downplaying what you did isn't doing you any favors. Whether you are vying for a raise or promotion, trying to get a better job than the one you have, or trying to launch your career for the very first time, Hiring Managers want to know how you are going to contribute and bring them results.
How excited do you think they'll be about you, if you tell them that you didn't do anything special and were just doing your job? Exactly. Not very.
I know it's hard not to fall into this trap, but here's the good news. You can stop being humble and still not come off sounding like a jerk. You just have to be factual, give details, and tell your story. Once you free yourself from the weight of humility that's holding you back and slowing you down, you can be convinced your the right person for the job without being conceited.
Just the Facts, Ma'am
We had a client a few months ago who walked into our office because she couldn't find the file of her old resume and knew she needed to create a completely new one before she started looking for her new job. She tried doing this on her own, at first. But she was at a complete loss on what to write about that would get an employer interested in her.
It's not that she wasn't accomplished. It was that she had the humility filter affixed to her mind. Once we started asking her questions and digging deeper from the surface level answers she was giving, the facts started pouring out. We went from hearing a list of tasks that her role entailed to facts about money she saved her company due to finding a different vendor, the revenue she brought in because of her sales style and methods, the amount of time she saved the company by streamlining a process, the quick progression she made in her career from entry-level to district manager, the awards she'd won for her location, and so on. She showed how she added value and contributed to her employers' successes.
There was no bragging. These were just straight-up facts. Facts that, were it not for some prompting, would never have been written in her resume had she done it on her own. Why? Because she was under the false impression that she was "just doing her job."
Well, if your job is to save the company money, make the company money, or improve the company in some way (which I think is what we've all been hired to do, to be honest), then wouldn't it make sense to mention it in your resume, elevator pitch, and interview?
Past Success Predicts Future Success
Gordon Livingston, psychiatrist and author, coined the phrase that I'm sure all of us have heard at one time or another, "The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior." I don't think this is 100% true. However, one thing I can tell you with 100% certainty, is that when you see your own successes as they truly are - successes - you'll start to think you'll be successful in the future. You'll walk into things more confidently and self-assured. Likewise, when employers either see, hear, or read about your past successes, they will firmly believe you will continue doing the same thing...perhaps with them.
This all creates a positive self-fulfilling prophecy. Because both you and the employer believe you'll be successful, you'll both do things and act in ways that will lead to more success. Because you're convinced in your capabilities, one accomplishment steamrolls into another accomplishment and into another.
This is why there are probably people in your organization who have skyrocketed up the corporate ladder, leaving almost everyone around them behind. Why do these people do so well and the rest struggle? Because they realized that even though they were "just doing their job" they were also accomplishing a great deal that they could proud of, and they weren't shy about talking about it. They took off that humility filter long ago, realizing that all it was doing was holding them back. They didn't want to be a wallflower. They wanted to stand out.
Time to Take Off Your Humility Filter and Be Proud
So, the next time you're asked, "Tell me a little about yourself," actually tell them about all the great things you've done. That's what people want to hear. They don't learn about your job, they want to learn about you. Tell them about what you've achieved in your career and how you achieved it. Tell them what makes you uniquely fit for their job. Tell them how you can contribute to their success. Show them that you not only think you can do the job, but that you are convinced that you can do the job better than anyone else!
About RockIt Career Consultation Services
At RockIt Career Consultation Services, our mission is to help you discover your true strengths and use these strengths to set your course to something more rewarding and exciting in your career.
We will guide you on what job or career best suits you and then help you market yourself through your resume, your networking strategies, your interview skills, and your negotiation to ensure that you are doing something you love and are maximizing your earning potential. Throughout, we will be there to keep you motivated and determined.
We'd love to help you launch your career and encourage you to learn more about the services we can provide you on your path to a more prosperous future. With our help, you will become the applicant every company wants to hire!