Those who are entering the workforce for the first time feel excited, nervous, and eager. Other's who are switching employers or even industries do so for a fresh start. Both have done a lot of work into getting hired, but then comes the time to develop your future expectations. What, over a lifetime, are your goals in regards to work, family, and community?
There is a time and place for applications, LinkedIn pages, networking, and business cards, but ultimately those highlight your proposed self. It's the same way employers list framework of qualities they want their candidate to have. They ask for skills, so you show your skills. They want to see if you can fit a requirement. But, anyone can hit a deep three, but doing it on the average with which Steph Curry does is another thing. Maybe you can't hit threes enough to be the starting point guard, but you could reach an average to ride the bench. There, you could the best unifier, problem solver, creative, or morale booster. The point is, it's what you can do on your average day that matters in life.
All the skills and qualifications you list on your resume should be standard. Most people looking for the same job as you will have the same set of skills and similar variation of experience. The "average" part about people which sets them apart is going to be more along the lines of their personality, creativity, and tact. Sometimes it can be hard because if employers don't seem to want to hire someone with your special set of extra “average” qualities. However, most places are looking for people with a little extra drive as long as it's in a healthy direction. Businesses are often looking for someone who can improve situations even when there isn't a problem to solve. If you can find some way to do that you can be an X-factor for any company.
This is a shift in the way a lot of companies think when it comes to their new hires. The first to come in and last to leave mentality still go as long of a way as it did before, but businesses realize there are other valuable qualities in new hires as well. Recently, a manager told us he encourages his team leads to be proactive, boost work ethic of their team members, and lets them all go home once they get their work done. He's had to explain a few times how teams staying for ten hours is unimpressive when he knows the amount of work he's asking of them could be done in a much shorter time. “I would rather them get their work done and take off a little early to boost their morale, reward them, and make them feel good about working here rather than drag their day out as if it proves some point of them being a hard worker.”
Still, there are going to be times when you put long days of work in and might get 16 hours of work done in 14. Those 14 hours can be your average, what sets you apart, and it will be noticed. Those are the qualities you can't put on your resume. Those are the things that set you apart.
We have a project for you. Maybe you have time to do it, maybe not, but we want to encourage you to think about what it means. We want you to write a resume you will probably never turn into anyone. Don't write a resume for a job, write a resume about yourself. Include goals, dreams, and things that make your average special. Include how you like to boost office morale. Tell the world how you can turn someone's day around with subtle encouragements. State what you want your business card to have in the title spot. Write up your ideal self, the one you know spells you out best and gives a company the most interesting you. Ultimately, this is going to be the average that sets you apart. Even though a lot of job listings and relationships look the same, no one is looking for a cookie cutter applicant. They are looking for you. It's your job to know what the best you have to offer is.