“All the wrong people have inferiority complexes.” – coffee mug slogan

I recently had the opportunity to speak for a career networking group.

They were thrilled with the “haven’t heard that before” insights shared during the program and the meeting planner asked if I’d share them in a blog so others could benefit from them.

Happy to.  Hope these help you POP! out of the pack of applicants and land the job of your dreams.

POP! Your Job Search Tip 1.

Don’t Be Shy. If You’ve Accomplished Something Special – Include It!

“There are few times in your life when it isn’t too melodramatic to say your destiny hangs on the impression you make.” – Barbara Walters

One of the most important lessons-learned shared in my What’s Holding Us Back? book is …

“Our strength taken to an extreme becomes our Achilles Heel.”

For example, kindness is a wonderful quality. But if we’re kind to people who are cruel to us; our kindness becomes a weakness that gets preyed upon.

Having a great sense of humor can be delightful. But if we always have to be the “clown” who’s the life of the party; not so good.

Are you thinking, “What’s that got to do with resumes and job search?”

Most people are way too humble when applying for a job.

Humility is a lovely trait.

But when it comes to getting hired. humility can become our Achilles Heel.

How so?

Potential employers can’t read your mind.

They don’t know how and why you’re special unless you tell them.

If you’ve accomplished something outstanding and don’t include it on your resume; you could lose out on a job you deserve and might have gotten otherwise.

It’s your responsibility to showcase specific skills that may help get your foot in their mental door.  It’s your job to mention real-life, one-of-a-kind experiences that could add value for their organization.

My son Tom is an excellent example of this.

Tom and his brother grew up in Maui, Hawaii.

We would go for walk and rolls at night in our lovely neighborhood near Keawekapu Beach. I would walk and they would ride their big wheels, bikes or skateboards. Our nightly tradition was for each of us to pluck a plumeria blossom and bring it home to place on our pillows.

Even when he was young, if you asked Tom what he wanted to be, he would point to the sky and say, “Something to do with up there.”

Little could we have known that Tom would eventually graduate from Virginia Tech (Go Hokies) with a multiple degree in Aerospace Engineering, Physics, Astronomy and Math. (Suffice it to say, I didn’t help Tom with his homework!)

Several weeks before graduating, Tom applied for a job at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.  After  filling out the application, he asked me to take a look at it.

I was glad to do so – and was surprised to see Tom hadn’t mentioned that he and his college team had won an international competition to plan a Manned Mission to Mars.

I asked Tom, “Why didn’t you include that on your resume?”

Guess what he said?

“But Mom, that would be bragging.”

Arggh.    I told him, “Tom, it’s not bragging if you’ve done it.”

“Think about it. There could be hundreds of applicants for this job, all with similar degrees. Many have great GPA’s or were on the Dean’s List. So that’s nothing special to decision-makers at this point.

Think about it from their point of view. They’re looking through a stack of resumes in search of something relevant that isn’t same-old, same-old. Something that causes them to think, ‘Now that’s impressive. Or, that’s interesting. Let’s bring that person in for an interview.'”

If you have an impressive achievement few others can claim; it deserves to go on your resume.

It differentiates you from similarly-qualified candidates.  It could be a deal-maker because it gives you a competitive edge and gives potential employers a compelling reason to consider you as a high-potential.

Guess what? Tom got the interview  … and he got a job in mission control at JSC in Houston. 

Every day he gets to do what he loves most and does best. He is fulfilling his SerenDestiny (the title of my upcoming book) and getting paid to do work that puts the light on in his eyes.

He told me recently, with a sense of wonder in his voice, “Mom, working with the International Space Station is a dream come true. I do something down here . . .and it makes something happen up there.”

Hmmm … that is exactly what Tom wanted to do, all those years ago in Maui when he pointed to the sky when asked what he wanted to do when he grew up.

Who knows if Tom would have landed this ideal job if he had left off that singular achievement about the Mars mission that caught the interviewer’s eye and motivated him to fly Tom out to Houston for a site visit and interview?

So, here’s the question . . .

What’s a singular achievement you’ve accomplished that could help you stand out in a stack of resumes?

If you were Employee of the Month, that goes on your resume.

If you were the first to be certified in a specific computer training program, say so.

And, include an example of an uncommon hobby or involvement in a favorite cause/philanthropy.

If you compete in triathlons, add it to the resume.  Who knows? Maybe the interviewer is an athlete and will feel enough of a common bond to call you in.

In fact, an author client landed a big-name literary agent  by doing just this.

I advised Leslie Charles, (author of Why Is Everyone So Cranky?) to include under Credentials on her book proposal that she rode dressage.

She asked, “But Sam, that has nothing to do with my book. Why would I include that?”

I smiled and said, “Because the agent you want to work with rides dressage.”

This agent handled several best-selling authors in the non-fiction genre and wasn’t really looking for new clients. However, she and Leslie “clicked” while discussing horses and dressage and Leslie ended up working with her and getting a 6-figure deal for her book with a major publisher.

So, look over your current resume and job application.

What POP!s out? What gives it a “human” element that would give an interviewer a good reason to want to interview you?

What intriguing achievement, personal mission, heartfelt hobby, or uncommon interest could help you stand out from the crowd of candidates?

If you’d like more ways to POP! your job search, career, communication and success, check back for Part II of this series on the 3 Best Ways to POP! Your Job Search.   Or, subscribe to receive them automatically.