I Need Your Advice

A colleague and I mentioned awhile ago that it would be a cool idea if I started a blog for my organization, a blog about job search tips. I have one problem with this idea. Or maybe two. My first problem is that I can’t talk about my family who include my outrageously funny and insightful son; my middle child, a quiet yet personable daughter; and my eldest daughter, a smart and engaging character. I also can’t mention my beautiful and intelligent wife who keeps me on my toes and tells me to look for things, even though she knows where they are (see my blog, It’s an Employer Thing).

Why is this important to me, you may ask. Simply put, my family is everything to me, and I like to write. So combining these two values, it makes for some entertainment and, hopefully, some learning value to people who read my blog.

So instead, I’ll probably write about something mundane like 5 tips to creating a successful résumé. Now who says there are only 5 tips? There could be 7, or 10, or 50. This all depends on who you ask. Not for nothing, but I have been following a discussion on LinkedIn where one person says every résumé should be targeted, while others say targeting a résumé to each and every job will only cause confusion. The jobseeker instead, it’s argued, should write one résumé—or two at the most—and tweak it to fit the values and key words the employers require. So, how can there be 5 outstanding tips on how to write a successful résumé when two people can’t agree on the positioning of a résumé?

I might also write tips on how to create an effective LinkedIn profile. Already I see a problem with this. I hold dear the value of the Summary section on LinkedIn, believing that it should be written in first person with the personal pronoun “I.” But there’s also something to be said about writing the profile in third person, if…the person is accomplished, as in an author or actor or comedian. The other thing about a LinkedIn profile is that no one can come to an agreement as to what the most important component of the profile is.

  1. Is it the Snap Shot which includes one’s name and title? Think key words and stunning photo.
  2. Is it the Summary? You know my feelings on this.
  3. Is it the (Work) History?
  4. Is it the Specialties section, which is really part of the Summary?
  5. Is it the Honors and Awards section, or the Recommendations, Blog, Website, Reading List…?

I’d write about Career Networking, of course. On this topic I’ve come to the conclusion that networking is a lot easier than people say it is. You’re told to get out to networking events and shake hands with folks, look them in the eyes, collect business cards, deliver your personal commercial, be sure not to spill your drink, etc. I see it differently. I think networking is a natural progression that is done best in informal settings. In fact, the majority of job opportunities are gained through acquaintances. I think people are far too uptight about networking than they should be.

Salary negotiation would be another topic on which I’d write. I honestly believe that all the advice in the world gets thrown out the window when push comes to shove. We’re supposed to avoid the issue as best we can by first deflecting the discussion altogether, then asking the employer what her salary range is, then telling the employer what our range is, and finally stating an exact figure. Most people I’ve spoken to have gone directly to stage 4. Another thing about networking is that the goal for the jobseeker is not to “beat up” the employer, as one would a car salesman; rather it’s to come to a “win-win situation” where the deal is only sealed if both parties are happy. This, to me is the major theme.

I couldn’t forget interview techniques. Now how do I break this down? Do I talk first about traditional interviews, followed by behavioral interviews? The two are very different but are usually combined. I run a workshop called the Complete Interview Process, which combines the two types of interviews for this very reason. What great folly it would be to draw an analogy between interviewing and interrogating one of my kids, only to end by saying, “Hey, it’s really not that bad, Mr. jobseeker.”

I suppose my second problem with writing a blog for my organization is that I’m way too literal in my views. In MBTI speak, I’m what’s called a Sensor—yes, I know, there are only Introverts and Extraverts—which means I see things as black and white. So, if there are a number of outstanding tips for writing a résumé, there has to be a specific number. Five, 10, 15, 20, 23, 33, 44, 55….There are different opinions on every aspect of the job search, I realize this; but I like things nice and neat. LinkedIn, Career Networking, Salary Negotiation: they’re all very complex, messy topics that can’t be covered in one sitting. As far as I can see, no one agrees 100% on any of this, and in my world, this concerns me.

I know that as I look at my bobblehead collection Dwight Schrute is the man, not Michael Scott, Jim, Pam, Creed, or Andy. You may disagree. I guess I’ll just have to bite the bullet and tell it how I feel the career search should be conducted. But it would be really cool if I could draw comparisons between The Office and Things Career Related.

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