A business friend of mine – Garret – once played a mischievous trick on his employees. He pulled out their resumes from his file and made a few changes to them. He altered the employees’ names, the names of the companies they’d worked for, and other details that would identify each employee. At the next staff meeting, Garrett passed out copies of the resumes. “These are some folks were thinking of hiring,” he said, “What do you think?”
The results were startling. The team members didn’t even recognize their own backgrounds. To make matters worse, they all agreed that they’d never hire any of these people!
“Know thyself” is a traditional bit of philosophical wisdom. It may sound simple, but as Garrett’s story illustrates, it’s not so easy to do.
Knowing yourself is especially important when you’re about to launch a new stage in your career. To help you know yourself and therefore explain the value you can add to a company, I recommend an exercise of taking inventory, of examining your past experiences in work, in school, and in life, as well as the interests, skills, knowledge, talents, dreams, goals, and preferences that these experiences reveal — every year. The objective is to see your own background as others do, and to objectively review yourself – as Garrett’s team did, without realizing it – to see if and why you’d hire yourself.