Use Your Competitiveness To Your Benefit

I am a bit of a competitive person.  Okay, even I couldn’t keep a straight face when I typed that out.  I am competitive.  Plain and simple.


This weekend I went to a cook out and was invited to play Cornhole.  I have never played this before, I know what it is, but had not actually played it so I thought I might be able to curb the competitiveness.  That and the fact that I didn’t know my partner or the opposing team.


Not so much.


But in my defense I was the only girl so I had to up my game.  My throwing partner on the opposing team looked at me on maybe my third throw then yelled to the other two, “This one is a little competitive!”  Ya think?


I can’t help it.  I grew up a tom-boy, raised sports-oriented boys and spent almost a decade as a manager in the financial industry with oversight of primarily very driven, very testosterone driven men.  Add to that fact that I am a very petite person I had to compete or I would have been squashed.


But I learned how to apply my competitiveness to my advantage and in an appropriate way.  That was the key.


Many times I turned this competitiveness in on myself.  I wanted to be better, more knowledgeable, of greater assistance to those on my team.   I wanted to be the go-to person, the one that may not have known all the answer but knew where to go to get them.


Sometimes I would use it to spark a little competitiveness in my team mates.  After all, what man wants to be shown up by some five foot blonde girl?  Not saying it is right or wrong, it is instinctual, and I recognized it and helped employ it to get the best for my team.


I meet a lot of people who have that same drive or competitiveness within themselves; however it seems to completely disappear when in transition or job searching.  Many times they feel like they don’t hold any cards so therefore they cannot be competitive.  Wrong.


You are the ace in the hole.


You are the prize, you just need to show it to those companies that are looking to fill a need.  You have to start with that attitude and then start turning that competitiveness in on yourself.


Look at your resume.  How can you make it better, how can you make it better than anyone else’s?  You want your resume to stand out (win) among your peers.  That does not mean making it look all fancy and distracting.  That is like showing up to the golf course with a top of the line set of clubs but not having a clue the difference between a nine iron and three wood.  You will be found out quickly.


You have to sell it in your resume.  Tell them who you are, why they want to talk to you, not just how you succeeded but how you did so.  It may feel like you are bragging – yes, you are bragging, but let’s face it: if you don’t toot your own horn on your resume no one else is going to do it for you so buck up.


If you have the successes, skills and abilities to back up this so called bragging then for one thing – it is not bragging, it is stating facts; and two, you earned the right to tell the whole story.  They need to know the whole story or else you are just presenting fluff.  Competitors do not do fluff.


If on your resume you just tell me you have good communication skills and are a great leader but don’t putting any backing behind that then you have just served up a load of fluff.  It is like meeting someone and them telling you they are nice guy but when you actually go out with them they turn out to be a rude turd.


Those reading the resumes have dealt with enough turds that they want the rest of the story so they know in fact that you truly are as you present yourself.


Continually look at your resume and the positions for which you are applying – how can you make it better, more clear, more targeted to that position.  How can you beat out your competition for that interview?


Sometimes making it a competition against “them” gets that internal fire lit and that’s when you can really start to make a difference in your written and personal presentation.  Once that fire starts showing then those around you are going to recognize it and want you to be on their team.


By the way, we lost.  I think I am going to have to go get one of those stupid games just so I can practice.  Hey, I can’t help it; I’m a little competitive….



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

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