If your mask were your resume, what will you write on it?

When Naomi Osaka, the tennis Superstar appeared at the US open, with 7 different masks at 7 matches, it attracted celebrations as well as criticisms. To me personally, we have many reasons to admire Naomi Osaka. But now we have one reason to love her.

The facts about her are plenty: First Asian player to hold the top rankings in Singles. Multi-time Champions at Grand Slam and the US Open. And she makes the most money as a female athlete as of 2020. This list goes on and on.

On her personal life, she’s also famous for her shyness, obviously an introvert who doesn’t talk much.

I thought, this time she has found a good way to deal with introversion, although using masks for activism message is not new. Masks are now half of our faces, and a face is the most-seen part of any human body. Many artists, like Ai Wei Wei have come up with mask collections to deliver their messages.

What intrigues me is, Naomi could have simply written “Black Lives matter” on her mask and wore that for all 7 matches. You may say that it wouldn’t work.

Why it wouldn’t work?

Because anyone can do that. Anyone can tag “Black Lives matter” on social media or put it on their shirt. When one initiative appears so many times, people have a fatigue about it. But it doesn’t mean people are not open to give it some thoughts – it all depends on how you can stimulate their brains.

In our cognitive systems, we take incoming information, tag them, then put them in reserve, like some sort of a librarian’s job. This is an efficient system designed for us to be lazy, because when the same information comes again, the brain doesn’t need to put in cognitive effort. So you see, our brains just stop reacting strongly to things they are familiar with.

Naomi did a great job communicating for the cause she supports and created great impact. Writing 7 names in 7 matches is more effective for many reasons. A simple thing here we should always remember is, abstract words are NOT effective.

A "great" resume example
A "great" resume example

A “great” resume example

Above is a “great example” of how abstract words don’t leave any concrete impression on our mind. “I am an innovative team-worker problem-solver leader with great technical skills and Entrepreneurial mindset. ” This literally means nothing to most people bombarded with concepts today, and is definitely NOT formula for great resume.

It is even more important to be concise and relevant in your resume after jobhopping and have a mixed bag of experience.

Act it out, tell a story, paint a picture.

Also see my article on How to take stock of your career capital.

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 Yolanda is a certified transformational coach, entrepreneur, and multi-award-winning writer. She holds an MBA from INSEAD, served director/VP level BD roles in Fortune 500 MNCs and tech unicorns. 

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