Sunday, January 16, 2011

Who Am I, Anyway? Am I My Resume'?

When I was a freshman in high school, our Social Studies teacher, Mr. Treacey, and his wife (who also taught at the high school), took us to see A Chorus Line at the Schubert Theater in New York City.  (What that field trip had to do with Social Studies, I don't know, but it was great and cemented my love of the theater.)

That's where I first heard the word "resume'," in the opening song, I Hope I Get It:


Here are the lyrics:

Who am I, anyway?
Am I my resume'?
That is a picture of a person I don't know.

What does he want from me?

What should I try to be?
So many faces all around, and here we go.
I need this job, oh God, I need this show.

I always found those lyrics poignant and haunting on a visceral level.  Now, as an adult, I have the perspective and the language to say why.

For me, whatever side of the interview table I sit on, candidate or hiring authority, it's all about authenticity.

I can't dance.  Not at all. I have no talent for it.   So, I would never put myself - or the decision-maker -  through the rigor / torture of a dance audition.  In A Chorus Line, however, some of the characters can't really dance either, but audition anyway because they're passionate about dancing.  And they subsequently, one by one, don't get selected.  Don't get me wrong:  my heart breaks a little every time one of them doesn't make the cut.  However, the kid from Queens inside of me wonders what the hell they were doing there in the first place.  I know, it's just a play.  I'm just sayin'.

Passion without talent, or talent without passion, is the same:  inauthentic.  And inauthentic doesn't make the cut.

For that reason, I mentor those who seek career guidance from me to first and foremost identify the authentic intersection(s) between their talent and their passion.  And for most people, including me, there are several potential talent / passion intersections to discover and/or confirm.  With the assistance of a mentor, an independent assessment, or any combination thereof.

Without consciously and thoroughly determining those talent / passion intersections, any resume' - or proposal - will ring hollow with potential decision-makers, employers and customers.  But most importantly, with the candidate themselves, undermining confidence and bottom-line authenticity.

For example:  I love to sing; and I'm a good singer.  I know it, and others have confirmed it:  they let me stay in the church choir.

What are your authentic talent / passion intersections? Have you validated those intersections with a knowledgeable and equally authentic third party?  Are those intersections clearly outlined on your resume'?  

And most importantly, are you ready to win the audition?

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