Humility: Remembering Your Roots

by sysop in Acing the Interview, Applying for a Job, On the Job 101

humble free marketer 1

by Meghann Olshefski

Ronald Reagan once said, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.” Humility and integrity are two of the top employee traits that hiring managers look for when hiring new talent. The best thing you can do for your professional career is demonstrate that you possess these values and then practice them every day.

Today, there seems to be a deficit in the availability of people who are willing to pay their dues and work their way to the top. In an environment of personalities and power-grabbing, it’s easy to forget your humble roots in the race to the top. Perhaps it’s a generational thing, but a good number of people expect to be a CEO and earn a gold-plated salary from the get go. They don’t realize that a willingness to do the dirty work first frequently proves to be more beneficial in their career trajectory.

Here’s how to showcase humility in each step of your job search and career.

In Your Resume and Cover Letter

  • Be a team player: Talk about a time you pitched in as part of a team.
  • Overachieve: Highlight instances when you went above and beyond your job description, stayed late to get a project done, or worked for free because the cause was more important than a paycheck.
  • Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty:  Showcase internship and charitable volunteer activities where you actually performed hard work. Keep in mind that the easy route – such as just attending meetings or showing up at the victory parties – is much different than putting in the long hours to pitch in making phone calls or going door to door.

During the Interview

  • Be respectful and recognize authority: Don’t be nice to just your interviewer. Pay deference to everyone you meet on the way to and from your interview. Shake hands with the receptionist. Follow the lead of your interviewer.
  • “Tell me about a time when…”: Be able to prove your professional values system. Prepare to talk in detail about instances when you demonstrated humility and integrity on the job and elsewhere.
  • Pay homage to your former or current employer: Regardless of your situation, never speak poorly of your former boss or employer. Never divulge confidential information. Think before you speak.

On The Job

  • Say “Thank You!”: The habit of writing the obligatory post-interview handwritten thank you note doesn’t have to stop the moment you’ve penned your John Hancock to a job acceptance letter. Make a habit of writing handwritten thank you notes to anyone who is helpful to you. We live in a fast-paced, Internet driven world. Not many people pause long enough to thank the people who’ve helped them along the way.
  • Compliment others: Go out of your way to publicly acknowledge the good work of your peers.
  • Be OK with the sidelines:  You don’t always have to receive credit for your hard work. Give 110% and know that someone will recognize your good work.

Remember to constantly remind yourself that you will be rewarded.  Someone invaluable will recognize your good work and you will reap dividends. A good movement takes care of its own.