Writing About Yourself

Talking about yourself is tough. Your insecurities can obscure your understanding of your talents–even what you want your talents to be can cloud your self-awareness. In her book The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin says,
One of my Secrets of Adulthood is “You can choose what you do; you can’t choose what you like to do.” I have a lot of notions about what I wish I liked to do, about the subjects and occupations that I wish interested me. But it doesn’t matter what I wish I were like. I am Gretchen.
Isn’t that the truth? Ugh, it makes writing resumes, bios, and brand guidelines so tough!

Late last year, I helped the John Budnik Band write member bios along with a history of the band. Yes! It is my brother’s band and yes! they are located in my home state, Alaska. I conducted quick interviews via email to accommodate the full-time work schedules of the members and the four-hour time difference.

Instead of asking the members only questions about themselves, I asked them to provide their basic info: what instrument they play; how/when they learned to play. I then asked each member questions about the OTHER bandmates. Each member provided personality and talent insights about everyone except themselves. This gave outside perspective, but also a genuine portrait of who these cool cats are.

I did something similar last year when my co-workers and I were told the website we were writing for was shutting down. While we were all looking for new employment, I organized and ran a workshop of sorts to help with resume writing. Together we unearthed and articulated everyone’s talents and skills. “Unearthed” is the key word. We focused on one person at a time and I asked each person to answer the question, “If on the first day of your new job, you walk in and see that so-in-so also works there, you would be excited because…”

The answers were amazing and filled with valuable resume fodder. I think that collectively the soon-to-be-former coworkers provided each other with skills to add to their resume. These skills were always there, but we don’t always know what talents are most valuable to our cohorts. Or, we quickly dismiss our own value because it’s not what we are striving for. This exercise provided a positive outside perspective on each of our talents.

The key to both of these examples is that an outside perspective can be clear and genuine. We often think about who we wish we were and how maybe we’re not quite there and let it cloud our self-perception—much like Gretchen Rubin discusses. When you ask for an outside opinion (and pose positive questions—very important!) you can clearly understand what talents are really important and impactful to your fellow band members, co-workers, clients and business partners.

If you’re stuck on your resume or perhaps you’re trying to define your business/brand/agency, consider getting an outside perspective. Being able to see yourself or your band or your business from a different position is invaluable as you put into words who you are.

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