When trying to write about yourself for someone else's consumption, I give you permission, from here unto forever, to follow what I'm dubbing Tom's Emphatic Maxim on Accuracy.
I use it when consulting with clients and I'll outline it here.
I send my resume to Tom, excited about the possibility to work for the Department of Defense in Bagdhad, Iraq. Tom had offered to review it before sending it over - he was recommending me for a position overseas.
Tom is a former Marine I met when working at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He is also a former ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) Agent. I mention this to give context to the authority of who is about to give us both advice on how to talk about ourselves.
Tom's Emphatic Maxim on Accuracy
And I quote,
DON'T BE SO DAMN CONSERVATIVE!
Veterans don't like unclear communication or fluffy made up words, but they also don't like exaggeration.
Since Tom gave me permission to quit being "so damn conservative" (and I completely trust his judgement), I'm granting you permission, too!
See, resumes and bios must cover these three things:
- What you did
- Who you did it for
- ***What the impact was - on the organization, on the industry, on the lives of people***
The clincher is #3.
I had worked at the Federal Agency Headquarters level, overseeing 28 subcomponents, and giving counsel that would impact thousands of employees and millions of peoples' lives every day. A Deputy Assistant Secretary took my counsel on important strategic matters and I represented her and our office at meetings across Washington, D.C. I reviewed and prepared Congressional testimony, reporting, and legislation. I also worked an interagency team, with White House participation, that developed the framework for DHS's budget process and strategic plan.
(And that's just to get started)
What did I say about it before learning Tom's Emphatic Maxim on Accuracy? I was a policy analyst for the Department of Homeland Security + maybe a few bland bullets.
Interesting, but not accurate. And, especially underwhelming for anyone who didn't already know what working at a federal agency entailed.
When you don't properly acknowledge the work and the impact your work has had, it's as if you aren't aware of the scope and magnitude of the work you are accomplishing.
Tom's Emphatic Maxim on Accuracy isn't bragging.
The Maxim guides you to take a step back, or a ladder up, to see your role in the larger picture of any initiative.
It also shares a bit about you to people who don't know you, who don't know your work ethic, who don't know what it's like in your industry.
What you've done before gets acknowledged, and what you're doing next has a solid foundation to build on.
And, when you start using Tom's Emphatic Maxim on Accuracy you'll start to view what you're doing with more excitement and inspiration.
You'll also see the extensive value others bring to the table because you'll be noticing what they do through Tom's lens.
It's natural. And it feels electric because it's what's true.
Take a moment and share with me...
What has made talking (or writing) about yourself easier?