In Greek mythology, Hercules was the son of the Greek god and chronic philanderer Zeus and Alcmene, a mortal woman. More than mildly miffed by this dalliance, the goddess Hera sent serpents to kill Hercules when he was only an infant. Even from his earliest days, Hercules clearly demonstrated that he was destined for great things.
Hercules is best known to modern audiences for his epic Labors, a series of tasks he was assigned as penance for a terrible crime—and again, thanks in part Hera. They have come down to us through legend from slaying the Nemean lion to capturing Cerberus, the three-headed guardian to the underworld. Hercules went on to join the Argonauts, the Greek mythology version of an All-Star game and finished by being elevated to godhood.
It may sometimes be tempting to view oneself as a latter-day Hercules, heroically striving against the mighty challenges an antagonistic figure sets in our way. But the real applicability is in his Labors—specifically, as relates to your résumé.
Imagine what a résumé for Hercules might resemble. What might his professional experience look like?
Hero at Large
Righter of wrongs whose boundless energy brings justice, thrills and spills across Greece. Author of heroic feats of strength poets will recount for millennia. Creator of effective solutions for proverbially thorny issues.
- Overcame Nemean lion through deployment of legendary strength in service to intelligent tactics, ending the lion’s threat to 500+ local residents.
- Defeated the Lernaean hydra and its many, re-growing heads with the surgical application of medical best practices, resulting in acquiring a unique tactical asset.
- Won passage to and from the underworld to capture and subdue the three-headed dog Cerberus, the underworld’s guardian, producing the return of Athenian hero and king Theseus.
Examine the accomplishments, each drawn from one of the legendary Labors of Hercules. Although no metrics are included for any but the first, note that the form of each is in the PAR (Problem, Action, Result) behavioral interview question form. In each case, the chief challenge or problem for each task is listed at the beginning followed by the specific action undertaken and closes with the result. And the result is that Hercules looks heroic
Do the accomplishments on your résumé do the same for you? Shouldn’t they?
At the end of the day, making your accomplishments the stuff of legend will yield a more powerful résumé that will help you stay focused on the big picture: landing your next opportunity.
Although I use the familiar form “Hercules” throughout, it should technically be “Heracles” as the reference is to Greek, rather than Roman legend.