Kurt Vonnegut and Your Job Search


Bloggers have a habit of taking a great quote and applying it to their favorite subject. Right now, I keep seeing one quote over & over again in the blogosphere.

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be. — Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut is at his best when he warns us against the human condition. In this quote, he provides wonderful insights on duality, honesty, and authenticity. You and I will never achieve a level of consciousness where we can shed our masks, deconstruct the facade of our lives, and shed our cynical and selfish desires. Knowing the limits of our psyche, Vonnegut keeps it simple and advises us to examine our ‘pretend selves’ so we can guard against the implications of living a false existence that will become, at some point, our real lives.

So here’s how this applies to your job search.

  • When you ask me to review your resume, I’m looking for structure and keywords and plot points.
  • When you review your resume or portfolio, I want to make sure that you are comfortable with the representation of the person you are pretending to be.

Review your resume and focus on your story. Study your narrative. Ask yourself some important questions.

  • Who are you pretending to be when you are looking for a job? Is this the person you want to be?
  • Is this person truly qualified to be doing the kind of work he is seeking?
  • Do you deserve a paycheck for what you have to offer?
  • Do you even want this job, anymore?

We are what we pretend to be — even on our resumes — so we must be careful what we pretend to be.

Ah, Vonnegut. I just jumped on the bandwagon. I hope you’re not rolling your eyes at me, again.

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