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How to sell one's self with integrity?

  1. Apr 28, 2010 #1
    So as I have mentioned, I have recently started looking for jobs, and have an interview scheduled late May.

    As a physicist, I find that Feynman's quote

    "if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid"

    really resonates with me. I really try to live my life by this modus operandi. On the other hand, I'm starting to realize that I do have to sell myself if I want to land a job. Does any one have any advice on how to navigate this conflict?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2010 #2
    The thing that you have to remember in business is that you have only a limited amount of time, and you can't report everything. In order to describe your entire life you need about 500 pages, and no one has time or energy to read it all. Also, as long as it doesn't impact your ability to contribute to the business, most employers don't want to know everything about you.

    The way that jobs and resumes work is that they are 30 second commercials or two minute trailers, and in 30 second commercials and two minute trailers, you do not have time to explain everything so you need to explain what are the most important facts that will get you hired.

    The most important thing about writing a resume, is that you are writing a commercial and not an autobiography or an experimental report.
  4. Apr 28, 2010 #3
    I'd also mention that employers know you are selling yourself. They expect it and assume the worst. If you write that you "supported" some initiative, someone reading your resume will interpret that as meaning you were there but didn't actually do anything. You don't need to explain that you didn't do the whole thing yourself - it's assumed that you didn't do much :smile:. Short of lying, selling yourself is totally fair game.

    If you designed a report that your company used to increase sales, you'd want to say something like: "Created and launched blah blah blah tool, increasing sales by 15% or $23MM in 2009." Anything short of that and you simply won't get credit for your actual accomplishment. If the above is a true statement, how relatively worthless does it sound to say you "Compiled data for the sales team" ?

    Remember, everyone will assume the worst. Selling yourself completely, as long as you don't lie, isn't unethical at all. It's expected, and it's necessary to give yourself a fair shot.
  5. Apr 28, 2010 #4
    Yes, which means that you have to be careful what you say since it may be misinterpreted as being a lot worse than it really is. If you start off by talking about a conviction for shoplifting, the employer may assume that you are an ax murderer.

    Details are good because they are hard to fake without outright lying.
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