Humble to a Fault

The highlight of my morning today was having phone conversations with two former colleagues with whom I had not spoken with in several years. Barb Kelly is doing amazing things in her own business (Technology Business Group), bringing her values, experiences and entrepreneurship to her work and her employees. The other is someone we will call Paul who is recovering from some serious medical issues and is preparing to reenter the workforce. Our conversation left me wanting to share this point: You have to sell yourself.

Paul is a talented leader who has the ability to create and build teams that are very effective. One of his teams that I had the opportunity to support delivered top results in his sales region through great team member development that led to superior engagement and a competitive (though not too competitive) culture and a strong will to win. Paul should be proud of his accomplishments, though a very strong sense of humility is getting in his way.

Our conversation was about job hunting strategies, including his resume, and how he needs to do a better job of selling his accomplishments. Step one is to get the interview. That will happen with a great resume that is full of accomplishments and results, solid networking and consistent hard work in the job search. Step two – the interview – will be the time to display that humility and stories about team development.

For all of us, the lesson is simple. Many of us have a hard time bragging about our accomplishments. Humility and the desire to not appear arrogant or over-confident act against us. As you search for the next great step in your career, though, this can be a fatal flaw. You have to sell yourself and the value you bring. Let your humility and servant leadership qualities shine in the interview and on the job. Don’t let those same qualities cripple your search.

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