reading a cv Naturally, your resume needs to highlight your accomplishments, and it needs to tick all of the important “boxes” (correct dates with minimal gaps, an accurate phone number and email address, etc.). And yes, you should have some key skills listed that will help you show up in searches as well as catch the eye of hiring managers who already have your resume in hand. However, many other applicants have accomplished the same things and have the same skills, and so the difference between you and those other applicants comes down to two things: who are you and what will you do if you get the job?

With this in mind, take a fresh read of your resume and while doing that ask yourself these questions:

  • does my resume tell a stranger anything about me as a person?
  • does my resume convey what contribution I will make to the company?

DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE?

In order for your resume to communicate who you are, you have to begin with the most difficult part – knowing the answer to that very question. I’m not saying you have to sit on the floor and meditate so that the cosmic forces will magically imbue you with this knowledge (unless that is your jam, then by all means do so). I’m talking about a more concrete analysis: What are your preferences, your goals, your strengths and your opportunities for growth. The good news is that you are already in a perfect place to start. You found this post because you are likely here to take the Jung Typology Test, which is a great place to start understanding yourself.

By learning your type, and further researching the implications of that type, you are starting on a good path to realizing the strengths you have to offer a potential employer.

Example:
I have a strong preference of Feeling (F) over Thinking (T). Knowing this on paper is one thing, but I have also spent time thinking about what that actually means for me on a day to day basis. My discovery is that I am hyper-focused on the feelings of those around me, and also the implications of those feelings to my relationship with them and their relationships to others. This is a strength that I would want to highlight on my resume, which, together with my strong preference for Extraversion (E), is aligned with my focus on teamwork and how I work hard to ensure that people work smoothly together.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU BRING TO AN ORGANIZATION?

You’ve spent hours getting your resume just right. The dates align, you’ve described what you did in each job, and you described the results of your work. This is all important to get right, but this information still falls short of answering one question: what will you contribute to the organization?

What is a “contribution to an organization?”
What will you bring to the table that will make a difference to a company? What actions might you take that others will not? Even if employers don’t always realize they are looking to answer these questions, they will respond positively if you proactively answer them.

HOW DO YOU CONVEY ALL OF THIS ON YOUR RESUME?

Perhaps you have the phrase “Works well under Pressure” on your resume right now (it’s probably listed in your “Skills” section). As a hiring manager, I will likely ignore it. Why? Because it tells me nothing other than you included a phrase you think I want to see. However, if we tweak that phrase to say something like “Makes accurate decisions under pressure,” now I get a clear idea of HOW you will act in a pressurized situation. Also, I see that you have an awareness of how you will act, which tells me that you are self-aware. Finally, you have also subtly stated that you have experience in making decisions under pressure, which may lead a hiring manager to wonder what that experience is. If you can cause a hiring manger to pause and wonder something about you – even for just a couple of seconds – then you have already provided yourself an edge over other applicants.

Where do you put this information?
Assuming you have some sort of introductory/objective statement in your resume, consider how you might work these phrases into that section. Also, consider creating a section called “Contributions to an Organization.” It’s atypical, but perhaps that’s exactly the reason to do it! If a hiring manager pauses on that phrase out of curiosity, you can probably be assured that they will read on. Lastly, don’t forget the cover letter, which is also a perfect place to convey who you are and what you will bring to an organization.

BENEFITS FOR THE JOB INTERVIEW

interview Let’s look beyond the resume and touch on the benefits of knowing yourself and your contributions when it comes to job interviews.

Ready to prove it
Listing your contributions to an organization (such as “Makes accurate decisions under pressure”) can lead an interviewer to asking you about them. If you did you homework, you’ll be prepared with a specific example of a time you made an accurate decision under pressure. In a way, you’ve just took control of the interview before it ever started.

Answer the “what is your greatest weakness” question
Going to back to the earlier example of how my Feeling (F) preference is a strength that I will want to convey to a hiring manager, it’s also a weakness for me, because I may avoid difficult conversations or put off tough decisions out of fear of the consequences to relationships. Knowing this provides the seed I need to answer the “weakness” question.

Asking your own questions during the interview
The point here is not to come up with questions that are solely for the purpose of showing the hiring manager you did your homework or questions you think they want you to ask. An interview SHOULD be a two-way conversation: the interviewer wants to know if you fit the job and you want to know if the job fits you! If you’ve done your homework of getting to know your preferences, strengths, etc., then you’ll be able to ask questions that really matter to you. For instance, if you know that a particular type of work (e.g., data analysis) is of particular interest to you, you can ask if your job will involve work of that sort.

The more competitive the job market gets – and it’s competitive out there – the more important it is for you to be able to stand out. Being able to convey who you are on your resume, and doing it on a deeper level than just listing your experience and skills will help you gain that edge you need.

To learn more about how to stand out from the crowd, check these free ebooks.

About David Freedman

David Freedman is a Success Coach at MySuccessPlatform.com. He has more than 15 years in human resources consulting. His wide-ranging experiences include resume and career coaching, emotional intelligence training, talent acquisition, and employee engagement. MySuccessPlatform.com offers their Rock*it Resume service as well as a Competitive Edge Boot Camp - customized and highly interactive workshop designed specifically for job seekers. Parent or recent college grad? Check it out.

portrait of an angry girlYou’ve probably had (or you currently have) a bad manager. This is a person that falls into some of the classic “managerial traps:”

  • Authoritarian, manages your every move
  • Stubborn, not willing to listen to suggestions, “my way or the highway”
  • Only provides negative feedback, ignores positive results (or takes credit for them)
  • Never at fault, blames everyone else – or everything else
  • Good at the technical aspects of the job, terrible at the people-oriented aspects (or bad at both!)

Whether because managers don’t want to be managers, they weren’t given enough training in being a manager, or they are simply losing a battle against their own inner demons, we – as employees – don’t care why our managers are bad, we just want them to get better.

Better management is a perfectly reasonable expectation in today’s workplace. Based on the title of this article, however, you can probably guess at (and I’m willing to bet some of you may even take offense at) my overall proposal: we all bear some of the responsibility to ensure that our relationships with our managers are successful.

ARE YOU ON AUTO-PILOT?

You’ve been angry at your manager for making a decision you didn’t like. You’ve gotten defensive when your manager provided feedback. You’ve wondered why your manager can’t “just let me do my job.” We’ve all reacted like this, we’ll all do it again, and it’s a perfectly natural reaction.

Add ‘em up

Have you ever thought about how often you react negatively to your manager? Do you disagree with every decision? Do you get defensive every time you receive feedback? While you’re making your calculations, consider if all of the feedback you received was truly “negative” or was some of it simply new instructions or well-meaning and constructive feedback about your work?

Do you carry that file cabinet around with you?

Do you file away every negative thing your manager has ever done? Do you remember every time your manager sent back something you submitted asking you to make changes? Was your manager once snippy with you back in 2013 and you still haven’t forgiven her for it? You may have had a manager who holds grudges, but fighting fire with fire only creates more fire!

HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU WERE IN YOUR MANAGER’S POSITION?

Worried businessmanNot to overstate this, but the job of a manager can sometimes be more difficult than yours. A manager usually has to do not only their “everyday job” but also manage you and your colleagues. Your manager experiences the same emotions that you do, such as fear (do you like giving people feedback?), disappointment (for example, when employees do something different than the manager asked them to do), and frustration (your manager, too, may wonder why people can’t “just let me do my job”). Lastly, remember that your manager may also have a manager, and likely experiences the same issues with her manager as you do with her!

DOES HUMBLE PIE GIVE YOU A STOMACH ACHE?

This could be one of the most uncomfortable things to deal with at work (and life, for that matter): admitting you could do something better. No matter how many years you’ve done your job and how good you are at doing it, someone else may be able to provide you with feedback (aka, suggestions) on how you may do something better or just differently.

Let’s assume you never make mistakes (or you never deliver work with mistakes). Then, let’s say your manager still asks you to “fix” something. It seems unfair, doesn’t it? All too often, we complete a task, push it forward and wash our hands of it as we move on to the next thing. Is it any wonder, then, that we get upset when the task comes back to us again for changes? Our natural reaction might be to get frustrated, but consider preparing yourself for the inevitable “red pen” by doing just that - prepare yourself.

Approach your work with a humbler attitude
Assume that, despite how hard you worked on something, that it can probably still use improvement. Bonus tip: be gracious when receiving the feedback. You might even try smiling. Also, if you did actually make a mistake, apologize!

AM I ANGRY AT MY MANAGER OR AM I UNHAPPY WITH MY JOB?

Stressed at workplaceJust as a less-than-effective manager may take out his frustrations on innocent bystanders (aka, you), consider if you are doing the same with your manager. What if, for example, you are simply bored with the monotony of your job and what if your manager is just the messenger bringing you your boring job? It may feel like you are taking control when you blame your manager, but consider that blaming your manager might be giving up the very control that you seek.

Given that you are reading this article on the HumanMetrics site, it’s could be that you are currently searching for a new job, a new career, or you are simply looking to learn more about yourself in order to take control of your career and your life. Self-awareness of your own behavioral preferences, your strengths, and your opportunities for growth is the crucial first step in determining how you can take control of your own happiness in the workplace, in your career, and in life!

About David Freedman

David Freedman is a Success Coach at MySuccessPlatform.com. He has more than 15 years in human resources consulting. His wide-ranging experiences include resume and career coaching, emotional intelligence training, talent acquisition, and employee engagement. MySuccessPlatform.com offers their Rock*it Resume service as well as a Competitive Edge Boot Camp - customized and highly interactive workshop designed specifically for job seekers. Parent or recent college grad? Check it out.

“I’m not a leader, I’m too quiet.”

“I wouldn’t be good at sales, I’m not pushy enough.”

“My dog doesn’t respect me because I’m not forceful enough.”

Have you ever said or thought any of these things about yourself? About others? You are definitely not alone in thinking that introversion carries with it a certain amount of: “I’m NOT [fill in blank].”

I suppose it’s easy to see why that would be. After all, introversion is defined as gaining energy from within, and this is a process that cannot be observed by others. Whether you’re introverted or extraverted, nobody can see you “gaining energy” (we don’t – yet? - have a battery indicator on our forehead to show others our energy percentage).

TWO PEOPLE WALK INTO A BAR…

Let’s take a hypothetical conversation between two people, one strongly extraverted the other strongly introverted (and yes, introverted people do go to bars!).

  • The extraverted person will likely be talking animatedly (for example, waving hands), physically leaning in to the conversation, and perhaps reacting strongly to the other person’s input.
  • The introverted person may contribute to the conversation, however their outwardly physical signs may be much more subdued (in other words, they may show less energy).

As a third party observer to this conversation, you may make the mistake that many of us make: assuming the introverted person is missing something that the extraverted person possesses. We may think the introverted person is shy, or less interested in the conversation, or we may even think the introverted person isn’t as smart (in fact, while neither extraversion or introversion signifies more or less intelligence, studies indicate that introverts may be better at processing information than extraverts)!

INTROVERTS LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE EXTRAVERSION IS KING

Extraversion is generally seen as the gold standard for success (and even happiness). Leaders are expected to be vocal and dynamic, salespeople can’t possibly be expected to succeed if they don’t thrive on talking to others, and people may find themselves sidelined at school or work if they don’t “contribute” to discussions.

How should an introvert handle these expectations?
Do you pretend to be extraverted? Or, do you assume that your introversion will limit you and only pursue paths that typically are seen as “good for introverts?” Perhaps it doesn’t need to be either! Keep in mind that very few people are 100% introverted or extraverted. This means that you probably exist somewhere on the continuum of extraversion and introversion, and therefore you already have the ability and inclination to show signs of both!

Going to a party and having fun is not “out of character” for an introvert, but it may require more mental energy and may need to be followed by more time alone to recharge. If you don’t want to go to a party, don’t go! Sometimes, you may not want to go because you’re feeling too shy/introverted, and sometimes you may not want to go because you are genuinely excited for a quiet night at home. There are no right or wrong reasons, but in this – as in most things – you want to strive for a balance.

WORK WITHIN YOUR PREFERENCE WHILE STRETCHING IT

The point of learning your preference is to neither try to change it nor use it as an excuse for acting or not acting. A more effective strategy is to recognize how your preference can be leveraged as a strength while simultaneously doing things that widen your ability to be comfortable in both realms.

For introverts, this may come in the form of accepting that not all social situations are to your liking, and proactively seeking those that you are comfortable with. For instance, if the thought of going to a networking event makes you queasy, try a book club or other group that involves activities (running, eating, etc.). You will be surrounded by fewer people and there will be both distractions and guidelines that lessen the awkwardness of small talk.

For extraverts, this may come in the form of accepting that sometimes you actually do need to take time for yourself – and that it’s OK to do so. You may need to schedule that time, since – as an extravert – it’s possible you have filled your calendar with social situations already. Taking this time will give you the opportunity to think more deeply about things you may not normally take the time to contemplate. This can be just as draining to an extravert as a social situation may be to an introvert!

INTROVERTS AND EXTRAVERTS SHOULD ACCOMMODATE EACH OTHER

In all of your interactions, ask yourself this simple question “If I were the other person, what would I want from me?” By doing this, you are attempting to understand what it’s like to be more extraverted or more introverted, and from there it’s a shorter road to understanding how to interact effectively with one another. As an introvert, if you recognize that the other person is struggling to hold up the conversation, you may be inspired to give a little more energy to the interaction. As an extrovert, if you recognize that the other person may be struggling to interject, then you may be inspired to stop and ask them a question or simply give them space to talk.

I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I believe introverts to be in need of “protection” and that it’s up to the extraverts of the world to ensure they are treated fairly. It may be common that extraverts tend to take control of situations, and many social and workplace rules tend to favor extraverts. However, introverts are just as capable of – and responsible for - handling themselves in social, school, and work situations. We all – extraverts and introverts alike – should strive to know and manage ourselves while not expecting anyone to change based on our opinion that change may be warranted. Introverts and extraverts can have smooth and rewarding relationships simply by recognizing and accommodating each other.

What is your experience being an introverted leader, or interacting with an introverted leader? Share your comments below!

About David Freedman

David Freedman is a Success Coach at MySuccessPlatform.com. He has more than 15 years in human resources consulting. MySuccessPlatform.com offers Competitive Edge Boot Camp - customized and highly interactive workshop designed specifically for job seekers. Parent or recent college grad? Check it out.