You are NOT your résumé

20 Mar

You are not your résumé, you are your work. I had to ask myself, “do companies really get the best employees by hiring paper over people?” I am reading Seth Godin’s Linchpin and just came across a section that made me stop and think about this question.

Can HR really find talent from what a person HAS done? I can tell you I have done some incredible things in my life and have done a lot of stupid things – I paid the stupid-tax more often than I should have, I might add. But does that tell a headhunter what I am GOING to do if they hire me at ACME, Inc? I think not!

In my opinion, your name and reputation should speak more for you than any piece of paper. Now, I will say, that I send a bio sheet to all new clients so they can get a snapshot of who I am. This bio includes what I am currently working on and some rudimentary has-been information like my education and previous work experience… but nothing like my current client (or reference) list! I let other like-minded clients speak FOR me – they speak for me and what I do for them. They never know when one of my potential clients may contact them so they paint an unprepared, spur-of-the-moment picture of me and my services.

Who cares if I auctioned a round of golf with Jack Nicklaus for $42,000? Who cares if my proposal for the first-ever Forfeited Land Commission auction in South Carolina was accepted? Those items are in the past and may NEVER be replicated again. The negotiation skills needed for these successes will never be garnered from a quick read of my résumé or curriculum vitae… and I am sure many others have skills that have to be seen in action and these people are being passed over because someone worked at ABC or graduated valedictorian at DEF University (please raise your little finger when reading about such a prestigious institution!) and those attributes were more important to the HR person conducting the interview.

Is it just me or is Tobey from The Office the perfect picture of an HR person? Sorry, I had to throw that in.

I congratulate and applaud anyone who is, was or strives to be a valedictorian… but seriously, is that really a well-rounded person? I’m sure a research firm, CPA firm or the FBI white-collar crimes division wants someone who can stay cooped up in front of books, numbers and files trying to find that tidbit of information no one else can find. But are these folks worldly enough to function in today’s society where being different has become the norm?

Again, I think it is an awesome accomplishment and don’t shoot me for my opinion, but I feel your presence is more important than your past. A little deeper – purposeful presence. In today’s world, working for a paycheck yields a mechanized worker. And usually a lower paid worker. Have we been brainwashed into this mentality?

Are people still stuck in the “factory” mentality created by our parents and grandparents? This approach tells us to be at work on time, do what we are told (without question), put in our required amount of time and retire with a lowly pension. Automatons. Like a machine you use when you need it. Switch on, switch off. Repeat as needed. You could say this is another vicious cycle like drug addiction in a family, abuse that carries over for generations… It pains me to see this – Seth Godin talks about it extensively in Linchpin. Who is going to be the one that breaks the cycle?

My parting thoughts…

Be freaking remarkable!
Be that Purple Cow that stands out in the herd!
Don’t just have a presence, have a purpose in everything you do…

A final story… Jamison and Ryan own a 50′ catamaran in St John, USVI named Kekoa ( My wife and I have sailed on the boat and actually met up with them this year on Jost van Dyke, BVI. In speaking with Jamison, who was captain of the boat that day, I told him Kekoa was the Purple Cow of all the charter boats I had seen in the Virgin Islands. Think about boats… White hulls and white sails. Multi-million dollar floating mansions – and they ALL LOOK ALIKE! So what did the brothers do? They painted their hulls silver and raised a black sail… a nod to the pirate ships that flew black sails over 200 years ago. The result – an experience like no other, on a boat like no other.

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Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Just Me, Motivation, Writing


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