By: Efraim Weiner  | 

Resume Building: Getting to Know Yourself

When creating a resume, one brainstorms their work experiences and education to create bullet points detailing their skills — often overly-relying on a thesaurus to embellish relatively mundane tasks. Secretarial experience becomes “initiated correspondences between the CEO and perspective clients,” while a gap year spent in Israel might translate to, “meticulously analyzed and verbally debated ancient Babylonian legal texts.” These bullet points might make for a superficial display of your talents and skills, but they do little to answer the dreaded interview question,“tell me a little bit about yourself.” To answer this question successfully and thoughtfully, it is important that one creates their own personal philosophy.

To understand what a personal philosophy is, it is important to first understand what it is not. A personal philosophy is not derived from Ted talks, business podcasts, or Tony Robbins shouting mantras at you. Nor is a personal philosophy just about tips on how to get rich quick or brain tricks to think quicker and more efficiently. This isn’t to say that these self-help guides and motivational speeches are worthless — certainly many have valuable insights and knowledge that one can apply to various day to day situations. However, these advice-givers have created and perfected their own unique personal philosophy, so mimicking and idolizing their way of life does little to develop one’s own self. 

In order to cultivate a personal philosophy, a person should examine their day starting from the very beginning to the very end. The goal is to find commonality in life’s mundane and seemingly disconnected activities. When one defines for themselves why they do what they do, and who they are as a person, these tasks start to link up and make sense — dictating one’s next choice.

Psychologist Angela Duckworth, in her book “Grit,” examines the coaching career of Pete Carroll. Originally a college football coach, Carroll entered the NFL but saw only mediocre success, and was eventually fired as head coach of the New England Patriots. During this low point, Carrol examined his life philosophy and what his ultimate goals were. In 2010, he returned to the NFL as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks and guided the team to a Super Bowl championship just three years later. He credits his renewed success to his philosophy of “doing things better than they were done before.” This mantra of Carroll’s dictated all aspects of his life and coaching philosophy. Whether it was the players’ meal plan, the music the team listened to, or the time frame for his practices, everything was calculated. When one defines their personal philosophy, success and achievement can become immanent.  

Carroll spent years crafting his way of life, encountering both success and failure along the way. Similarly, our personal philosophies may become altered overtime but perhaps we can look at our past decisions to help guide us towards defining our future. As YU students, our mission statements, although probably not fully defined, may contain Jewish values that have dictated our decision of where to study for university and may dictate the career fields we eventually choose. Taking the time to reflect and categorize one’s personal philosophy is the only way to figure this out. 

Establishing a personal philosophy is no easy task. Some people spend their whole lives in search of something to live for and work towards. However, even the process itself is worthwhile. Explaining to a job recruiter how you approach life — scrutinizing every moment — shows that you are thoughtful, attentive to detail and that you approach tasks differently than other people. Additionally, the most technical and routine aspects of one’s profession can become meaningful once you figure out what it is you are working towards. So as you polish that resume for that next job application, take the time to also figure out who you really are.

Photo Caption: Job recruiters want to know who you really are
Photo Credit: Pixabay