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Career Bites #09: Be of Service

Picture of Angela Guido

Angela Guido

Resumes are all about impact and positive contributions
to meaningful outcomes.

Want to have more impact and contribute more towards meaningful outcomes? It’s easy. Just ask yourself this one question: How can I be of service? In your classes, in your clubs, in your community, and at work, how can you be of service?

Service happens at the intersection of what is needed and what you have to offer. Does the office filing system need a revamp? Does your club need a process for marketing to new members to improve its competitive edge? Does your boss need your wordsmithing  skills to help draft a proposal? Does your team need someone to create a detailed action plan to ignite social events? Does the office head need someone with leadership skills to head up training on Excel macros? Do it. 

Be of service to the people around you and the organizations you are a part of. It just feels good. We all want to be of service. But the more you do this, the more you will be positively contributing to meaningful outcomes as a valuable employee, and the more you will effortlessly be building your resume.

More to chew on

If you read our monster post on MBA resumes (You didn’t? Do it now!! It’s awesome!), then you know that a resume is a results list. It is meant to catalog the impact you have had and the outcomes you have produced. No matter what opportunity you are applying for – a new job, a new industry, grad school admission – the company or school is looking for result-producers. They want to see a culture of innovation led by people who make things happen in the world.

The earlier you are on your career path, the harder it may seem to make things happen. When you are low on the totem pole and you don’t control your own work product, it can be a challenge to understand the big picture of the organization and where to make your mark. It takes courage and confidence to step up and own something that feels either over your head or your current skill level.

The cure for all of these concerns is just to be of service. Look for places of need and then step in and fill it. As you do this, you will begin to see places where there is a need and you have an interest. Perhaps helping with the office filing doesn’t seem very sexy. But if you do that job well, you will earn the trust of the office manager. And then when there is an opportunity to create a new training program on project management – something you are truly passionate about – maybe he will give you the opportunity to lead it. Or you will feel more comfortable asking to lead it because you have already demonstrated your diligence and willingness to add value.

Successful intrapreneurship begins with service. So wherever you are in the organization, look beyond your role and find opportunities to contribute.

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