You Know What You Want, But What Will You Give?
Here's a relationship test.
In this case, the relationship is between employer and employee. You're the employer, so put on your "Hiring Manager" thinking cap.
Read the three resume objectives below, then decide, as a Hiring Manager, which candidate sounds most likely to come in to your business or department and be the most impactful? Which person seems focused on solving your problems?
My Objective Is To...
1. Attain a full time position in an environment that offers a greater challenge, increased benefits for my family, and the opportunity to help the company advance efficiently and productively
2. Advance the growth and influence of small businesses and non-profit organizations by creating leading programs and cultivating relationships that promote internal economic growth
3. Further my professional career with an executive level management position in a world class company. Seek to diversify my skills in another industry and as part of a larger organization
Which one do you choose to take charge of your projects?
You may notice that two potential hires keenly focus on their personal objectives (what they can get from your company), while one has a laser-like focus on business objectives (what your company stands to gain under their leadership).
For my hiring budget, I'm going with Number 2.
Number 2 says exactly what they do and how the company benefits. They seem less interested in taking from the company and more interested in giving.
Don't get me wrong. I expect candidates to be focused on career growth and benefits. I also believe companies need to sell themselves, but a good company wants to know what you offer in exchange for that six-figure salary, and they can't do that if your objective reads more like a Christmas list than an intention.
What does this have to do with relationships?
I sometimes help friends update their resumes and when I see purpose statements like, "To grow and learn," I wince. Want to know why? Can I be honest? Because it's the worst objective ever.
My friend's desire to grow and learn doesn't address the problem that the hiring manager is attempting to solve. My friend's desire to grow and learn has nothing to do with the purpose of the business.
The objective that focuses on wants instead of gifts, so to speak, sparks little, if any, interest. It's ineffective, and even worse, below average, just like most other objective statements.
The same goes for relationships.
By the time we're over 30, we know exactly what we want and need. We've had plenty of time to contemplate it and it's a frequently asked question, "What are you looking for?" Sometimes we focus so much on receiving that we lose touch (or never give serious consideration to) with what we can and will give.
It's important for you to know what you can offer to another human being because it forces you to take stock in yourself. To examine yourself for all the wonderful things that you offer that you hope will bring joy and amazement to another person.
Being in touch with what you offer also gives you a boost of confidence based on facts. Your confidence isn't haphazardly cobbled together by anything shallow, depreciable, or delusional. When you hold the keys to your trunk of treasures you can't help but feel rich. But that means being aware that you have treasures in the first place. It means knowing what's in inventory and how to articulate the value.
Going back to those objectives. When you're unsure of your skill set or how it can be used to advance business missions, it's easier to talk about what you want the company to do for you instead of what you can do for the company.
I think we can do better than that in our personal lives.
You already know what you want. Now determine what you can give.
Photo credit: Dominik Martin via Unsplash