I have been blogging on the topics of resume writing, social media profiles, and conducting a job search for six years now. During this time over one thousand readers, at all levels, reached out to ask for my advice. In talking with them it never ceases to amaze me how many people are living in the dark when it comes to these topics and how to reach one’s career goals.
So here are three basic thoughts to take to heart and learn from.
1: When it comes to finding a job, or getting ahead in the one, there is only one opinion that matters; and it is never yours.
Unemployed and employed job seekers, whether it’s your resume, cover letter or LinkedIn page you must be mindful that each individual who reads them will form his or her opinion on your skills, ability and your intrinsic value to their organization based on a personal interpretation of the information you make available to them. Therefore, you need to be diligent and cautious about every word, sentence, thought and statement you make, verbal & written, to ensure they are on point and not misconstrued.
For those who are employed and working your way up the ladder, you need to control your actions and what you say and do on the job, especially in meetings and public forums. The ‘reality’ of who you really are, the value you have to offer, and the message or personal brand you are trying to establish is not determined by how you view yourself, Rather it is based on how others, especially decision makers, see you through their eyes.
Remember that decision makers, individually and collectively, base their opinion on what they perceive to be the truth based solely on the information you make available to them. So your challenge is to ensure that in writing and in the words that come out of your mouth that you present useful information so people view you as you want to be seen.
2: In a job search and in advancing your career IMO there are two types of people.
The most common are job seekers who sit back and wait for things to happen. They wait for someone to give them advice or a push in the right direction. Then when this happens they procrastinate on taking the advice and look for reasons to justify maintaining the status quo.
These are also the employees who wait until someone ahead of them quits or retires before they get around to letting their superiors know that they are ready to take on the challenges and responsibilities of a new position. They are the ones who most often find out after the fact that the position they covet has been filled with another candidate without their having an opportunity to compete for the job.
On the other hand some people are doers and they take the initiative to shape their own destiny, even at risk of being impetuous and going a little overboard. They are willing to be big winners or losers rather than accept the status quo. They set their own rules and never accept defeat. If they lose out on a job they just consider it a learning experience and a minor setback. They don’t sulk; they just get up, dust themselves off, and jump back into the game in order to win another day.
3: Utopia is a work of fiction and political philosophy by Sir Thomas More and one of my favorite rock bands fronted by Todd Rundgren; but there is no such thing as a Utopia in modern day business world, even if you own the business outright.
For employees there are no perfect jobs, companies, bosses or candidates for a job. Companies are only as good as the people who lead them and the employees who work for them. A job is only as good as you make it. Bosses come and go so you need to accept them and get along at all levels. Moreover, you must prove your worth over and over again and never sit back or stand on your laurels.
Companies and bosses might do something you like one day and tomorrow or a week or a month later do something you disapprove of. The trick to employee survival and career growth is to keep an even keel and never go overboard with your reactions one way or the other.
For job hunters the most important words in your dictionary are ‘perspective’ and ‘compromise’. You need to keep your eye on the prize and focus on the big picture at all times, and always manage expectations. The stage you are in dictates what is truly important to you and what is petty or inconsequential. Know where you stand and where you’re going and you won’t get bogged down in a dead end job or career.
As always I am available to critique your resume if you email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org