Being the best one can be is a noble ideal, an optimistic exhortation from our parents, or just a quiet personal goal for daily life. The sentiment has been around for a long time.
From 1980 to 2001, it was incorporated in the US Army’s recruitment advertising campaign, “Be All You Can Be, “ a phrase created by an N.W. Ayers’ senior copy writer, Earl Carter. It was replaced in 2001 by the slogan “Army of One” which reportedly was quite borrowed from a promotional poster for the 1976 Clint Eastwood film, The Outlaw Josey Wales. The “Army of One” slogan lasted only five years. While it was good for promoting that movie, pollster and public opinion consultant Frank Lutz said at the time that the “Army of One” tag line was contrary to the idea of teamwork, an essential element of military effectiveness. So, it was
dumped in favor of the phrase “Army Strong.” Of those three slogans, “Be All You Can Be” is my favorite because it appeals to my belief that the underlying theme, self-improvement, is integral to our success in work and in life. Besides, it ties in nicely with today’s post! By the way, that advertising campaign is now part of the permanent collection of the US Army Heritage Center Foundation. And, Mr. Carter, its creator, received the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Award for his work.
Be the best you can be is a theme that resonates in today’s fast-paced, hyper-competitive global economy. If it doesn’t ring true for you, it probably should. A successful career is no longer about just going through the paces of promotions, it is one in which an individual pushes his or herself to be the best they can be, as a professional and as a person. The irony is that we get so busy in our lives and are pulled in so many different directions often at a breakneck speed, that we do not have the time, or make the time, to think about what it will take to achieve our personal best. Mostly we just get through the day. Purposeful reflection on self-improvement is usually relegated to our subconscious and we hope that it will somehow spill over into our performance.
Perhaps in an earlier, simpler time, before we entered the digital age that tears down borders and forces us to compete with smart people around the world, a combination of our intellect, education and best effort would suffice. Not any more. Time, discipline, and a concerted effort to achieve our best is the way forward.
We Baby Boomers are slipping to retirement — well most are — but the rules of the game for those of us who want to stick around, and for Generation X, the Millennials and now Generation Z, are quickly creating this new paradigm.
We have to be more focused on Being the Best We Can Be or we will find that the sideline beckons and our roles as subject matter experts, thought leaders, innovators, or entrepreneurs who can change lives, will be unfilled.
If you are not excited by the challenge, dig down and find it. These are challenging and energizing times.
© 2018 John Gregory Self
Today’s Big idea focuses on when a job applicant should tell the truth about an issue in his or her background. It is not as straight forward as you would think.
Reputations get dinged, people get bruised along the way. Some of the dings and bruises are more serious than others. Some can affect your career. The tough question is what and when information on the more serious career issues should be disclosed to a recruiter or the prospective employer. The answer is… there is no sure answer.
© 2018 John Gregory Self
You see a job posting that catches your eye. You read the specifications and it seems to be a good fit. You haul out your up-to-date resume and submit it to the executive search firm. Then wait.
Nothing happens. No response until you get an email thanking you for your interest and explaining you were not selected for additional consideration. Sound familiar?
One of the most common questions that I am asked is why should a job candidate spend the time customizing their resume when the up-to-date version is an accurate reflection of their career and accomplishments? Let me explain.
When you meet the recruiter or the employer, do you provide general answers to specific questions? No, you try to be responsive to each query. The more specific you are to each question, the more you connect your experience and accomplishments with the needs of the prospective employer the better chance you will have to advance in the recruitment process.
So why wouldn’t you want to be specific, why wouldn’t you want to connect your experience and record of achievement in the first interview, one of the most important in the search process? Why wouldn’t you want so speak clearly about your ability and enforce why you would be an excellent choice for the position?
The first interview, the interview in which most candidates are eliminated, is the resume review.
So before you submit your resume to a recruiter or directly to the prospective employer, ask yourself, does this resume clearly speak for you? Does it specifically address the issues that the prospective employer is seeking to address based on the job posting or the specifications provided by the search firm?
You will not be present when this important decision is made. Does your resume make it clear why the search firm should advance you in the recruitment process?
That is why you should customize your resume. That is the only voice you will have to make your case.
© 2018 John Gregory Self