Job Search: Is That REALLY You?

January 30, 2014 — 4 Comments
Are You Being Authentically You, Like Ginger Zee? Photo From Ginger Zee's Twitter Bio

Are You Being Authentically You, Like Ginger Zee?
Photo From Ginger Zee’s Twitter Bio

Did you catch Ginger Zee doing a snow angel as part of her weather segment on Good Morning America?

She’s not shy about showing her fun and exuberant personality.  She’s being authentic and this engages her audience.

I’ve written about Ginger Zee before in my post, “Makeover Your Too Technical Resume”.  Ginger is my muse for good reason.  Since my post, Ginger’s gotten a promotion from the Weekend Edition of Good Morning America to the Weekday Edition of Good Morning America!

And that prompts me to ask you and my coaching clients…

Are you like Ginger Zee? 

Or are you suppressing the authentic you in your job search?

Many of us are hiding ourselves.

Take a look at the majority of LinkedIn profiles or listen to the typical answer to the interview question: “Tell Me About Yourself”.

It’s a robotic litany of roles, dates and skills.  Assembly-line, boredom-inducing sameness from one candidate to the next.

Are you feeling your mind drift?  Is the gray matter in your head turning more gray, tipping into the blackness of zone-out?

Guaranteed that’s what happening with the hiring manager’s mind.

You Are More Than Roles, Dates and Skills

You say “Sure, I know I need to highlight my accomplishments, not just roles, dates and skills”.

You've Got The Job! Image courtesy of stockimages /

You’ve Got The Job!
Image courtesy of stockimages /

Absolutely, right — accomplishments are key.

But, reciting dry facts and figures and even awards and recognition aren’t enough.

The beef is still missing (paraphrasing that iconic Wendy’s Hamburgers commercial) — and the beef is you.

Let’s say you’ve made it into the final round.  It’s between you with your accomplishment of a 35% increase in productivity and that gal with her accomplishment of a 45% increase in productivity.  Will she beat you out for the position?  Will that 10% be the deciding factor?

As a former hiring manager I can attest that what can count more is you being you and getting a resonance going between us.

If you can do that, the extra 10% achieved by the other candidate will be looked at as a rounding error — and you’ll be able to say “I’m so excited to accept your offer!”.

Here’s The Best Way To Get “YOU” into Your Job Search…

-> Tell YOUR stories.

You can use the helpful SOAR format (i.e. describe the situation, obstacle faced, action you took, and the result), but…

Be sure these stories are told from the authentic you perspective (from your heart!).  Heart stories tie and bind the storyteller with the audience — and in this case, your audience is the hiring manager.

Stamp Your Story With Your Authenticity & Your Heart! Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Stamp Your Story With Your Authenticity & Your Heart!
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Believe me when I tell you that your stories will resonate.  Try these for example:

  • David vs. Goliath (such as you changing management’s mind on a critical decision, you winning that huge sales against those industry giants, you and the team with little resources exceeding goals and expectations, etc.)
  • Superheroes saving the world (substitute “superheroes” with “you” and “world” with your project or customer or production problem, etc.)
  • Personal Redemption (we’ve all had something we’ve had to overcome at work, share yours.)

And there are many more stories you can tell. In your telling, invite the hiring manager into:

  • your struggles, your learnings, your approach.
  • how you connect, communicate, convince.
  • what are you most proud of in your career
  • your professional passions.

Imagine speaking like Floyd Lee (Head of the Army’s Pegasus Chow Hall) when responding to “Tell Me About Yourself”:

I’ve waited for this job all my life, and here I am in Baghdad… As I see it, I am not just in charge of food service; I am in charge of morale.

Floyd has passion and he doesn’t hide it.  Chip and Dan Heath wrote about Floyd in their book: “Made to Stick — Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die”.  Floyd is memorably sticky.

And if Floyd were to continue his answer by describing his accomplishments…

* This vision manifests itself in hundreds of small actions taken by [my] staff on a daily basis… The remarkable thing about Pegasus’ reputation for great food is that Pegasus works with exactly the same raw materials that everyone else does [all the other chow halls]. …One of the soldiers who commutes to Pegasus for Sunday dinner said, ”The time you are in here, you forget you’re in Iraq.”

* These words written by Chip and Dan Heath, found in their book, “Made to Stick”.  Italics, underlining and words added within brackets are by me.

It Feels Good to Be You & Others Feel It, Too! Image courtesy of 89studio /

It Feels Good to Be You & Others Feel It, Too!
Image courtesy of 89studio /

Don’t you think Floyd would be “The Candidate” that a hiring manager would want on his/her team?

Lesson here is don’t shy away from the color and richness of who you are and how that has helped you to accomplish all that you have accomplished.

Feel good about being you.

Other people will feel it, too, because people mirror other people’s feelings.

Proven through neuroscience.

Do You Have The Courage To BE YOU in Your Job Search?


I want to hear you say “YES” — in all caps.

It’s not easy, I know. Perhaps, Brene Brown’s thought about authenticity will be helpful to you, as it is to me.

Being the Authentic You Takes Courage!

Being the Authentic You Takes Courage!

This is from Brene’s “Gifts of Imperfection” e-course, part of Oprah’s Life Classes.  I’m currently taking the e-course and was inspired to do so by @DorleeM.  I’ll be writing a post after the e-course completes. But wanted to share this specific and applicable wisdom from Brene in this post today. So gather up your courage and…

#TakeThisMoment to be the authentic you in all life situations. ~ Jackie Yun

Including in your job search!!

What are your thoughts?  Do you have a story about you that you’d like to share or some encouragement you’d like to give?  Please do tell in the comments below.

Still unsure about being the authentic you in job search or how to do so?  I’d like to help.  Please reach out to me.  Connect in the comments or send me an email (jackie @ with your question.

4 responses to Job Search: Is That REALLY You?

  1. A thank you from my heart ♡ to Alli Polin and Ginger Zee for their kind responses (via Twitter) to this post!

  2. Jackie,

    Thank you for this inspiring post on the importance of being the authentic you in the pursuit of a new position.

    I also loved the examples you provided to demonstrate just how much more umph a job seeker has when sharing his/her story of struggle/learnings/approach when done straight from the heart.

    As you mention, sharing your heart story takes courage but it is through being authentic that you will not only stand out among other job seekers but you are also more likely to forge true connections with those with whom you share it.

    P.S. I’m so glad you are enjoying Brene Brown’s art journaling class 🙂

    • Hello Dorlee,

      You are so right about how being the authentic you is “more likely to forge true connections with those with whom you share it”. This would be important to the job seeker after accepting the offer and starting his/her new position. Thank you for sharing that point and your kind words about the post.

      Also grateful to you and your post for getting me intrigued to sign up for Brene Brown’s e-course!

      By the way, I just saw Despicable Me 2 and there are two scenes with Agnes, Gru’s youngest daughter, that show the difference between speaking with no heart engagement vs. with heart engagement.

      Scene 1: No Heart Engagement:

      Scene 2: With Heart Engagement (skip to 1:27 if short on time):

      Remarkable! Hope you enjoyed these clips.


  3. It was my pleasure, Jackie. Thank you for sharing these 2 wonderful video clips.

    I Ioved watching adorable Agnes reciting her poem w/no heart engagement and w/all her heart.


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