During my many years of corporate life, some colleagues talked about people pumping up their resumes. I also heard about public figures adding degrees that they did not have or positions they never held.

But, I never met anyone who did that. In fact, I experienced the opposite. I met so many people who were overly modest. They had such trouble taking credit for the success of a project. No, no, it was the team; I can’t take credit.

My family also raised me not to be arrogant or draw attention to myself.

However, we need a balance. Imagine a pair of jeans with a pocket on each side. (I exclude certain fashion statements.) One pocket is full of hubris and the other pocket is full of humility. One needs to pull from both pockets to create a balanced resume.

If one is feeling a bit too arrogant (resume reads like you were President of the United States while serving on the Supreme Court), pull from the humility. If one feels a little too humble (resume reads like you watched as others carried the project), pull a little hubris. Too much from one pocket or the other skews the entire resume.

So when you write about results on a resume, I accept the team did it. (humility) But the team could not have done it without you! (a little of the hubris).

[BTW: I have heard the argument to “enhance” the resume to get to the interview. However, one needs to back up every word on that resume. One of the worst feelings is to answer “um, um, um” when someone questions an enhancement.]

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