The Terrible T’s, Shortstops and Quarterbacks

Consider this a counterpoint to the Three R’s (relevant, recent, results). The Terrible T’s are something that should be very limited in your résumé, only appearing if needed to tell your story.

The Terrible T’s are tasks, those phrases and sentences that fill some résumés with what one is required to do on the job, rather than the results achieved. Here are two examples from sports to make the point.

A shortstop takes his position between second and third base, fielding balls that come his way. The shortstop is often the key to successful double play tries, covering second when a ball is it on the right side of the infield. He also bats, taking his turn at the plate.

A quarterback is the leader of a football team’s offensive unit, calling plays, keeping the team together and driving the ball down the field. He uses a combination of running and throwing plays to get the job done, making snap decisions on what to do with the ball all while being pursued by defensive players who want to tackle him and strip him of the ball.

These are boring explanations of the jobs of shortstop and quarterback. Every person who has played either position recognizes it, from kids in their earliest games to pros making millions to do it and do it well. The previous paragraphs are unnecessary in most cases. Here is what is necessary.

Tom Brady had a record setting performance on Sunday, January 15th when he led the New England Patriots with five touchdown passes in the first half of the game. This has never been done in NFL playoff football and sent the Denver Broncos into the off season with a resounding defeat.

Derek Jeter entered the record books in 2011 by surpassing the 3,000 career hits mark. This was just one more milestone in a career with the New York Yankees, one that has included multiple Golden Gloves awards, All Star Game appearances and World Series titles.

Do you see the difference? Is your résumé describing you as a Brady or a Jeter, or just another journeyman player with no accomplishments to share?

TIP: Get a red pen and a copy of your résumé. Underline every statement that describes a task. Then get a blue pen and underline everything that describes a result or accomplishment. If you are seeing more red than blue, you have some work to do. Write your history in blue and leave the red to the employee handbook and job description documents in the HR department.

Get Your Grand Slam Yet?

As summer winds down and Labor Day quickly approaches, many will be heading back to work with vacations a fond memory and the final four months of the year ahead. After a few more holidays, we can all look forward to the least favorite American workplace ritual: the annual review. The darling process of HR and the bane of the rest of us, performance evaluations are a fact of life.

If you work for a company with a solid culture of feedback and frequent check-ins with the boss, this is no big deal. You probably get recognition and criticism throughout the year and you know where you stand. If you work for a different kind of organization, you may have only this one opportunity – as painful as it is – to present yourself and your accomplishments for the year. So what are you doing to get ready?

Review the past eight months and ask yourself this question: If you had to write your self-evaluation today for the year, what would you say? What have you done to deliver more value than your paycheck? What have you done to help your boss and your boss’s boss? Are you struggling with this question?

If you have not done anything special, now is the time to get working. You still have time to do something above and beyond your job description that can define your year. If you have done some great things but can’t remember the details, start making notes. As I write this, I think about the Yankees/Rays game of Saturday 8/13. Jorge Posada came off the bench after a manager-directed time out and went three-for-five with a grand slam. Do you have a similar story? If not, get serious and finish the year strong.