What Roles Do "You" Play in Your Career?
Whenever a client discusses the assignments or projects s/he has worked on in a career, especially when building a resume, I often hear the client refer to what “we” did vs. what s/he did on a job assignment or project.
Of course, no one works in a silo in an organization, unless you’re a solopreneur. Even then there are other colleagues who may work with you. Generally it’s a team of professionals that participates in an assignment. Keep in mind, however, that a hiring manager rarely hires the entire team. The hiring manager is hiring you—or someone like you for the position.
So what are the things that you did? What was the role that you played—without which the project may not have been as successful, come in on time, or come in on or under budget?
This isn’t to say that you never want to mention the team’s contributions, but the hiring manager wants to know what you can do for his or her company. So it’s important to show your role on your resume with the achievements you’ve made in playing that role. You need to keep track of the part that you played, the successes large and small, and the major objectives. Your specific function on a project team should be documented on your resume so a hiring manager will be intrigued enough to bring you in for the interview.
Before you go into the interview, practice talking about the role you played. Keep your SOAR* stories in mind.
In her book Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It, author Peggy Klaus refers to brag bites as ways to “get creative in telling your story and conveying juicy nuggets about yourself.”
Notice that she says your story and nuggets about yourself.
Klaus says, “If your boss called you in to give her a debrief of everyone on the team, would you leave anyone out? Answer: no, of course not. Then, why would you leave yourself out?” She continues, “In doing so, you are doing a huge disservice not just to you, but to your boss, your team, your clients, and the company. No one will know what you do or what you've accomplished if it is a litany of we, we, we.”
The same is true for the interview. You are the interview candidate—not your team. Practice talking about your contributions and the role that you played—so you will be the one to benefit in an interview.
*The SOAR acronym is easy to remember and helps to organize material on resumes and in interviews. It stands for S = Situation, O = Obstacle/Opportunity, A = Action, and R = Results. (See Does Your Resume Tell Stories with Happy Endings?, Johns Creek Patch Blog, May 30, 2012)
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