You probably thought a cover letter showcased your fit for a job. You're right - it does this. You probably thought your resume was something that would qualify you (or not) for an interview. You're right - it does this. And you probably thought an interview was something that you did to prove that you were the best candidate for the job. Right again. But all of these things are far more: they are a promise of personal performance that you make to your employer.
Think back to your first day in your role (or the first day on a recent special project): what were your manager's expectations? They were pretty high - after all, you were chosen over everyone else. And how were those expectations set? Your cover letter, resume, interviews, references, and your prior on-the-job performance. No one asks you to certify your promises, to take an oath, or (usually) commit to a standard of performance, but every time you interact with your future colleagues and managers, you are making commitments and setting expectations.
During the selection process, all of these are scrutinized - not just to see if you are qualified, but also for consistency. If the "promise" inferred by your resume is different than your performance in an interview, then you are unlikely to be called back. The same is true for business proposals: if the "promise" of your proposal is different than your presentation (and different from what your references say), then you won't be awarded the business.
This week's action item: the next time you write anything, ask yourself whether it is consistent with everything else that you have written, and whether it is consistent with your performance. Everything that you write or do is a promise of performance, so hold yourself to it. Keeping your promise is important - but being consistent is equally so.
Randall Craig is an expert on Career Development, Work-Life Balance, and Networking; to find out how his workshops, webinars, and keynotes can help your team or add to your event, contact him through www.PersonalBalanceSheet.com, or by email at email@example.com.
Make It Happen Tipsheet
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Copyright © 2008 Knowledge to Action Press and Randall Craig. All rights reserved.
Publication Date: April 29, 2008
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