Boasting or Telling a Story That Shows Results?

This morning I met with a client who confided in me that she is not “used to boasting about herself” in her résumé, and that this entire exercise was very difficult for her.  Then she laughed uncomfortably.

Too often, this is the case when people sit down to work on their most important career document.

They DON’T feel comfortable about “boasting” about themselves.

File:Book collection.jpg, resume, interviewAnd that’s exactly the problem. They shouldn’t be boasting. Instead, they should be telling stories where they are the starring character. 

If done correctly, these stories aren’t all about boasting. You are just telling a story that shows how you delivered results to the company.  Take people down the road of how you got to those results.  And make it an interesting story along the way. People remember stories, not laundry lists of accomplishments.

Remember: The top thing on every human resource / hiring manager, recruiter, headhunter, or decision maker’s mind is “So what?” – you have to answer the question to make yourself stand out from other candidates.  They don’t care as much about what you did; they want to know how you helped the company and what the end results were.

Think about it this way: the hiring side of the equation is like a blank screen of a television, with the channel off the air. You know that annoying static fuzzy sound? It’s all noise, and there’s no rhyme or reason of what someone is seeing.

Now if you start to add color to it, and start building shapes, and constructing a story, well, now you have a compelling reason to keep the viewer (read: human resource manager) glued to the screen to see how the story ends.

So get over the uncomfortableness of talking about yourself. Instead, focus on the story of what the plot lines were, what challenges were posed by the lead character (you) and how you were able to solve them.

Now you’ll be cooking with gas, and you’ll have a much better reception from the human resource viewpoint, who are hungry for people to give them what they are craving!


*Photo provided by User:Stan Shebs/August 2003