Whenever you are buying a product, be it in person or on line we are always aware of the fact that what we want may not be what we ultimately get. The truth in advertising aspect of the consumption equation is paramount and we are comforted in many instances by a money-back guarantee. However, even with that guarantee we are not preempted from disappointment with a choice that may not have been our “shining moment.”
The same can be said for those in the job search: Are we selling a product (ourselves) that is misleeding or not fulfilling all the promises made in its marketing? The most significant question that one can raise is: Do people see you the way you see yourself? In a 1992 book from the Harvard Business School Club of New York’s Career Management Seminar, aptly named the same as this blog, In Transition, the authors Mary Linley Burton and Richard A. Wedemeyer concern themselves with a concept that those who are positioning themselves for a new job can certainly have a false self-image (elevated or deflated) and that you might be marketing yourself in a way that just isn’t fair to the end-user or yourself.
Initially we must ask if you have ever taken the Myers-Briggs Personality Test? Though this assessment can often only be a basic tool, it is important for those who are marketing themselves to have a baseline. Be it in words or deeds impressions are important and possibly not consistent with what you are trying to sell.
We are being evaluated every minute of the day and be it in a job interview or a casual conversation, the interaction and ramifications need to be contemplated in advance for the best results possible. Are you over-bearing or a wall flower? Is it someone else’s fault all the time or do you take responsibility for your actions and deeds? Are you open to change or are you set in your old ways? These are all questions that recruiters will pose in one shape or another and the pathway to the new opportunity can be yours if you answer accordingly.
One of the most important issues in presenting yourself to a potential employer is: Are you beyond your pull date (expiration date)? Age can be a factor but in this discussion we are more concerned about your mindset than years. It is important to depict yourself as adaptable and flexible and not set-in-your-ways, even if you are far from being old! Obviously it is imperative for you in an interview or in a resume presentation to position yourself as a proven and capable individual but there certainly is a line that you need to be careful not to pass over.
That line is one that can contradict everything you are attempting to achieve in promoting yourself for this opportunity. It is important to do your homework prior to the gathering. What kind of person are you dealing with? What are his “touchpoints” (interests) and what are his “hotpoints” (disinterests)? Obviously never talk politics, religion or even sports; you never know what you can say to upset an individual on these topics!
Use your contacts and friends as sources, hopefully they have had an interaction with this recruiter in the past or have heard about this potential employer within their own network. If no one knows of this person or persons, the easiest means to investigate is to Google the individual – see if his bio, speeches or writings are available for all to see. Check out the website of the potential employer, there may at least be an indication of the culture that you certainly need to address. Finally, check out if the decison-maker is associated with any groups that you may also be involved with. Are they a member of certain philanthropic associations or do they have a family? Only the coldest of cold individuals will not want to speak boastfully of his kids and spouse.
Above all you need to know yourself before you determine what kind of person is on the other side of the table. Ask your friends and contacts to be brutally frank with you about the impressions you provide. Remember, you can’t be friends with everyone and it is for that reason you need to assess who you are and what makes you tick.
The authors of In Transition suggest that you write your own mock Eulogy just as it would appear on-line or in the community paper. Are your high water marks the same as those seen by your family and friends? It may sound a bit morose but such an activity might give you a new perspective on what you see as important in your life and what others discount as just puffery.
To be successful in a job search you must always plan ahead. Never be content with yesterday’s conversation and always be rehearsing for tomorrow. Job Searches are really a microcosm of life and is the true reason why it is so difficult but also is the reason why it is so invigorating! You never wanted your life to be boring so make the best of this situation and good luck!