|Take Off Your Mask|
|Written by Abby Kohut|
Halloween is traditionally a holiday where people put on masks and enjoy stepping into the shoes of a character unlike themselves. Those who are angels in real life can become devils for the day and those people who are shy or timid can become a superhero. You're probably wondering how this has anything to do with job resumes. Ah… but it does, my friends.A resume can be similar to a Halloween costume. It's the paper version of you. It's your mask. But, unlike a Halloween costume, a resume must be the real version of you, not a version of you that you wish you could be. See, I told you that we'd get there!
Your resume needs to explain the real you, with all of your accomplishments front and center so that no one can miss them. It should be a document that you are proud of when you read it. Because it is your "personal marketing collateral", it needs to be the "best you" that it can be without going beyond the truth. It should be nonfiction written with a marketing spin to make you look like the most attractive candidate to the reader.
During interviews, it's easy to put on a mask. When someone asks how well you know Microsoft Word, it's easy to say that you are an expert when the job calls for an expert. It's easy, but is it right?
Obviously the answer is no, but it's for a different reason than you might think.
By now you all know how important I believe that it is to love your job. If you use your mask to influence a company to hire you when you're secretly not passionate about the job and/or secretly not really qualified, nobody wins. So if the job calls for a Microsoft Word expert and you aren't one, consider an honest answer such as "I wouldn't consider myself an expert, but I'm great at learning new features as I need them." Your honesty might save you from ending up in a job you can't handle or you might just land the job because you presented yourself so authentically.
When Halloween ends, off comes your mask, much like the first few weeks in your new job. If you oversold yourself, you will soon be discovered when your new boss asks you to take on a new project. How will you feel if you claimed that you had a skill but now don't have the ability to complete the project? How will your boss feel about you?
Now let's look at the other side of the coin. What if you end up in an industry that makes your skin crawl? Do you really want to look for another job in six months?
Absolutely Abby’s Advice:
This Halloween, take off your mask and then take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror. Is your resume the image of your best self or is it a façade? During your interviews, are you feigning interest just to get an offer or do you really love the job? Make every attempt to be honest with both yourself and your new employer. Employers and human resources professionals value and appreciate honesty. This Halloween, let's all take off our masks together!