Have you ever written a resume?
Can there be a more awkward exercise than writing about yourself? And in writing about yourself, you have to write both what you’ve done in such a way that it accurately summarizes the events of a career while at the same time stating it in such a way as to accurately portray what you can do. After all, that’s what employers are looking for: what you can actually do!
While in California, I ended up providing an interesting service to people: resume tweaking. I would look over their resumes and help them walk the aforementioned fine line. Sometimes (these were good meetings!) I got to tell my friends, “you’re selling yourself way short here. Try this…”
Other times…well, let’s just say I had to help them back off the claim that they practically invented the job and the skills necessary to perform it at the excellent level they were claiming to be able to do it. After all, if I were a hiring manager and saw that, not only would I want to hire them, I’d actually expect them to do it!
Not everyone took my advice to back off. There were more than one or two that paid the price for this when employers were disappointed with their job performance when what they expected was that resume.
Do you wanna know one ingredient of my “secret sauce” to resume writing? Proverbs 25:6-7:
Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among his great men; it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,” than for him to humiliate you before his nobles.
There’s a great danger when we promote ourselves. Not only do our actions reveal a self-centered heart, it also sets us up for great humiliation. When we practice “internal advancement”, we come across as bragging. And that’s never good.
They say, “it’s not bragging if you can do it.” Wrong. Jesus was the architect of the universe and He wasn’t bragging about it. Others did (cf. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, et. al.).
When we promote ourselves in our minds and hearts, we are trying to prove our value and worth to others. That’s just an uphill battle and—trust me here if you don’t believe me yet—an ultimately self-defeating battle.
Read that Proverb (above) again. I’ll wait.
Let those over you notice your greatness. Don’t tell them. Simply be great. Simply be good at what you do. Simply live consistently with the qualities of excellence the Lord has put in you. Quoting the Old Testament, it’s Jesus reminding, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 14:11).
Restraint of “internal advancement” is one of the fastest ways for outside advancement! Your talents will be seen if you keep at it. Be who the Lord created you to be; don’t you dare settle for anything else. Just remember: you don’t have to tell everybody. Let others see your actions quietly and quickly proving you are worthy of their respect and promotion.