Tag Archives: leadership

A rejection letter to a college grad

The story of a college grad who was rejected for a position because he didn’t do what college students should do. 


Hello John.

Regretfully I have to inform you that the hiring committee went with another candidate for the accounting position. Although we felt you were strong in many areas, it was your lack of job-related experience that prevented us from hiring you.

A number of attributes, which I’ll describe in detail, made you a strong candidate. I’m not in the habit of doing this for job candidates, but I want to give you some feedback from the search committee. I feel that you have a great deal of promise and hope to see your job search come to fruition.

To begin with, we were particularly impressed with your leadership skills. You were a lifeguard supervisor for two summers. During this time you were responsible for six staff members. The recommendation from your manager described you as a “natural leader.”

Another attribute you possess is strong communication skills. You demonstrated this as president of your class at the State University of New York. There you proved your verbal communication skills as a member of the debate team. As well, you wrote weekly articles for the university newspaper.

Your grade point average of 3.9/4.0 is remarkable by any standards, especially because you majored in Business Administration and minored in International  Studies. You should be extremely proud of yourself. This fact did not go unnoticed by the hiring committee; let me assure you of this.

You also came across as someone who would work well in a team environment, which is essential in our organization. By leading organizations on campus, most notably the Self-Awareness committee, you proved that you can work well with a diverse group of individuals. I was impressed when you told us that you empowered your teammates by delegating responsibilities you knew you could handle on your own.

Having played lacrosse for my college, I was impressed with the fact that you were the captain of the team your junior and senior year. I know how difficult it is to be the goalie in a game like lacrosse. You have be a quarterback and be able to bounce back from injuries due to blistering shots from the opposition. This experience shows that you have leadership skills.

Lastly I want to applaud you for taking control of the problem that aroused from your dormitory. You realized a problem existed with certain factions in the dormitory, so you organized a forum where people could discuss their complaints. You moderated these weekly meetings and eventually came to a resolution. This showed your problem-solving skills, which is important in any job.

Despite all this, John, we couldn’t ignore the fact that you don’t have the job-related experience required to hit the ground running. As you know, we need someone who can: prepare, examine, or analyze accounting records, financial statements, or other financial reports to assess accuracy, completeness, and conformance to reporting and procedural standards.

The hiring committee didn’t get the sense you were strong in all these areas. They also wondered if you could adapt to a very fast-paced environment with very strict deadlines. I admire your experience of supervising the lifeguards, but the responsibilities you would have assumed here are dissimilar.

I want to end with a little bit of advice, John. You don’t have any internship experience throughout your university years, and this hurt you. However, it’s not too late. You can seek out internships, or volunteer experience, near your home town. If you’re fortunate, you may secure a paid internship.

I wish we had a spot for you on our team, but we need someone who—as I’ve stressed—has the job-related experience.



Susan Jackson, Hiring Committee

This post originally appeared on http://www.youtern.com.

LinkedIn Endorsements: Reliable or BS?

endorsementGuest post by Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CTM, CMCT

If you’re on LinkedIn then no doubt you’re familiar with the relatively new feature where you can endorse someone for his or her skills and expertise. This feature is akin to Facebook’s “Like” option.

Not too long ago I connected with someone on LinkedIn who I’d previously had no interaction with whatsoever. The person reached out to me because we shared a common interest. Within hours of connecting he endorsed me for the following skills: management, training, marketing, leadership, and business planning. Read more


5 ways to position your career brand

To my jobseekers I assert that career branding is a lot like business branding—the big difference, of course, is that they’re selling themselves to get a job, not to increase profit for a company. Nonetheless, the two are similar.

An article posted on MagneticLook.com by Silvia Pencak talks about business branding, e.g., Apple, Mercedes, and unique small businesses, but also brings to mind how jobseekers can brand themselves to employers. Ms. Pencak notes that there are ways to strategically brand a business but makes it clear that it’s not at the expense of trashing other companies. She writes:

But before I do it, it’s important to understand that the objective of brand positioning is not to bring your competitors down, but to outshine them by performing better and more efficiently cater to the needs of the industry’s customers.

Based on a business model, there are five ways that jobseekers can brand themselves.

  1. A low-cost leadership strategy. This is not to say that as a leader, you must present yourself as someone who will work for free or for a low salary. You will come across as someone whose leadership abilities will pay for itself over and over. You are a leader who crafted your subordinates into excellent workers, some of whom became leaders themselves.
  2. A broad differentiation strategy. You attract employers from many industries which produce many products or services. You are not limited in your talents and experience, and have accomplishments to back it up. You sell yourself as someone who “wears many hats,” while remaining extremely effective.
  3. A best-cost provider strategy. Your are someone who offers potential employers a multi-dimensional employee who brings with her not only excellent technical skills but transferable ones as well. A project manager or engineer who also demonstrates excellent presentation skills, offers employers two employees for the price of one.
  4. A focused strategy based on lower costs. You know the benefits of working for smaller companies but realize that salaries are generally smaller. The small start-up wants to reduce costs (salaries) but needs two employees, a project manager and inside sales rep. Both jobs are within your realm, so you propose to be hired to perform both tasks at 75% of what it would cost to hire two employees, thus saving the company a boatload of money and meeting your salary needs.
  5. A focused strategy based on differentiation. You have a strategy or plan not only for yourself but for the company or organization as well. You have career goals that are attainable and in synch with your future employer. You differentiate yourself from other jobseekers as someone who can meet your goals, which is not the case for your competitors.

These are five business strategies that you must use to beat the competition. You as a jobseekers must develop strategies that enable you to beat your competition and land the job. To be able to perform at the top of your field is not enough; you must be able to communicate it in your verbal and written communications…otherwise you’re talents and accomplishments will be unknown.

Is it possible to separate career branding and personal branding? Is there a fine line? Mary Appleton makes a valid point in an article she shared with me that personal branding is important in terms of highlighting your personality skills. She writes in her response to this article:

In addition though, I think it’s really important for job seekers to define their own personal brand, which comes down to personality and determines whether you’re the right cultural fit. The art of personal branding can be hard to master, particularly as it’s not easy for people to get into the habit of thinking of themselves as a ‘product’ they need to market.

How true!