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It’s not all about you

Career Collective post: Once a month, a group of career professionals blog on a subject topical and timely for a job seeker. We’ll post our thoughts on our own blog and link to the post of our colleagues on the same topic.

This month’s topic: How are you fooling yourself about your career/job search? What can you do about it? “How to avoid being tricked by common job search blunders?” Responses from others contributors linked at the end. Follow the hashtag #CareerCollective on Twitter.

Imagine my surprise the other day when I received an eletter from an organization chastising the subscriber base. Here’s what it said: “After three days less than a third of you even opened the last newsletter…you voluntarily signed on ….” <italics theirs> In essence the sender thought it OK to impose their schedule on the readership and publicly lamented the fact everyone didn’t drop everything and read what this organization had to say immediately.

I sat there in stunned silence. I read it again. Surely I was reading it wrong. No. There it was. Someone was “yelling” at me for not reading what they wrote on THEIR schedule. Someone, knowing nothing about anyone’s schedule or email volume, deemed three days an adequate amount of time to open this document. And were so convicted in that belief, they thought it OK to chastise the entire readership for not adhering to their arbitrary schedule. Really? I signed up for this eletter more than three years ago and suddenly, by virtue of that sign up, they get to tell me what to do??? About 10 minutes later, as I was digesting this craziness, I received an email from a friend who was on the same mailing list, with a note saying, “Seriously? I’m being lectured?” She unsubscribed. I didn’t … yet.

So what does this have to do with being foolish in a job search? Let’s change up the players a bit. The organization is the job seeker, the eletter their resume. I’m the hiring authority.

I personally get more than 100 emails a day (and that’s a minimal volume compared to most HR professionals.) I run a business. My priority is client and colleague correspondence. I read all the other “stuff” when I can. Sometimes it takes a day or so to plow through everything. Sometimes, I look at content through the Outlook preview box. If the information doesn’t grab my attention or convey value to me in 10-15 seconds (sound familiar???), I hit the delete button and move on to the next email without ever opening the email.

Now, imagine I’m a busy HR professional or hiring authority with a full plate – a notice insurance costs are rising yet again, an overflowing inbox, budgets are due, an argument is brewing between staff members, a toilet backed up in the employee bathroom AND 300 resumes to review for an opening in engineering … and that’s a slow day. Rather than get a document that understands my pain and brings a solution to ease that pain, I get a cover letter with “I, me or my” mentioned 21 times in two paragraphs – basically a mini-opera all about me-me-me – accompanied by a me-centered resume, starting out with: “Seeking a position where I can grow personally and professionally while helping the company grow.” My HR world is imploding (as it frequently does) and a person I don’t even know, haven’t even engaged on any level is telling me what they want. I know nothing of them and their introduction is “gimme”. Sounds sort of like that organization deciding I “should” have opened the email already with absolutely no regard to my own personal circumstance or pain.*

I tell my clients (potential clients, strangers while out shopping – it’s happened … anyone who will listen); a job search is not all about you. (WHAT?? It’s not all about me?) I go on to explain, the beginning of the search is yours – you get to decide (or circumstances do) it’s time to launch a job search. The end of the search is yours – you get to decide which offer you accept. BUT, for all points in between, every word out of your mouth, every email, every voice mail, every conversation with every person even remotely affiliated with the target organization had better deliver, repeatedly, a “this is what I bring to your organization, this is what I can do for you, this is how I can make your life easier” message or you’re destined for the delete button. In this job market, with 6.3 individuals for every open position in the US today, you’ve got to sell your value, not pound your chest, stomp your feet and scream “I want.”

Don’t be an April Fool … or even a May, June or July fool. Convey your value. Think about your audience and don’t impose your agenda on others. Remember, in addressing their needs, your agenda is handled too.

*(BTW – I was one of the 33% that had opened the email, read it and forwarded the info along to a few others who might find it interesting BEFORE they yelled. Know what? Most likely, I won’t do that again. I won’t risk my friends and associates being yelled at for not jumping through imaginary hoops ever again. Do you think the harried HR manager will save or pass along your information to a colleague? Hmmm. The unsubscribe / delete button looms … )

Career Collective

Here’s what my colleagues have to say:

Walter Akana @walterakana Same as it ever was

Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter @ValueIntoWords Mirror ‘their’ needs, not ‘your’ wants in #Jobsearch

Laurie Berenson @LaurieBerenson Don’t get tricked by these job search blunders

Chandlee Bryan @chandlee Don’t Kid Yourself! (The Person You See in the Mirror is a Good Hire)

Martin Buckland @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes April Fool’s Day — Who’s fooling who?

Katharine Hansen @Kat_Hansen Don’t be fooled: Avoid these 10 job search blunders

Gayle Howard @GayleHoward If It’s Not You and It’s Not True, You’re Fooling Yourself

Heather Huhman @heatherhuhman 9 Ways You Might Be Fooling Yourself About Your Job Search

Rosalind Joffe @WorkWithIllness Trying hard to be nobody’s fool

Susan Joyce @jobhuntorg Avoiding Most Common Blunders

Erin Kennedy @erinkennedyCPRW Stop Fooling Yourself about your Job Hunt: Things you may be doing to sabotage yourself

J T O’Donnell @careerealism 10 Ways to tell if your job search is a joke

Meg Montford @KCCareerCoach Is Your #Career in Recovery or Retreat? (All Joking Aside)

Hannah Morgan @careersherpa Job Search is no joking matter

Barbara Safani @barbarasafani Job seekers: Are you fooling yourself if …

Miriam Salpeter @keppie_careers Are you fooling yourself? Bored at work? Is it your own fault?

Rosa Vargas @resumeservice Hey, Job Seeker — Don’t Be a Fool!

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    This post was mentioned on Twitter by dawnbugni: @KimbaGreen Thanks for being a loyal reader Kimba! Glad you enjoyed the post.

  3. Gayle Howard says:

    Yet another fantastic article Dawn. In today’s “me” centric world, I wonder sometimes if our advice falls on deaf ears. I once received a resume from a client filled with intricate engineering diagrams of patents he produced—when he was actually applying for a job as a hotel manager! Unfortunately for jobseekers forcing their ideas on someone regardless of what he or she thinks seems to be the current trend right now! My would-be client was of the same opinion—“This is all about me and this is what I want to say” instead of thinking about what the employer wanted to hear!

    • Dawn says:

      Gayle –

      So frequently a resume is “confused” with a career autobiography, rather than a sales and marketing document. You gotta know what your buyer is buying before you can sell it to them and also have to remember (as Rosa Vargas @resumeservice) tells me: You can’t sell hot dogs to vegetarians. Focus is key.

      Thanks for you kind, kind words and commenting!

  4. I love this post, Dawn. It’s up there with my list of all time favorite blog posts ever written by a career blogger.

    In a former life, I worked as a recruiter. I can’t tell you how true your words ring–thank you for sharing, and what a great perspective!

    • Dawn says:

      Chandlee –

      Wow. Thank you!

      I was a recruiter for awhile too. My favorite emails were the ones with just a resume attached, nothing in the body of the email. No cover letter. Nothing. They expected me to open the resume. Read it. And figure out to which of my 20+ open job orders they were responding. Oh yeah. I did that. LOL.

  5. Excellent post, Dawn, as usual! This is such an issue for so many of us. We get down in our trench (work), focused on our deadlines, our goals, our needs, and forget that the whole rest of the world has the same kind of focus, but on THEIR work, deadlines, goals, etc.


    • Dawn says:

      Susan –

      Thanks! Always happy to see you here. We tend to forget, we all have “stuff” happening. A little more consideration of that stuff, on both sides of the process, would serve everyone well.

  6. […] 3 job search blunders, @LaurieBerenson Trying to hard to be nobody’s fool?,  @WorkWithIllness It’s not all about you, @DawnBugni Mirror ‘their’ needs, not ‘your’ wants in #jobsearch, @ValueIntoWords Stop […]

  7. Jane says:

    Excellent post. Hope to read a lot more great posts in the near future.

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