The Job Sauce is about to go into its sixth year of business and we couldn’t be more excited. Anyone who has ever built a company from the ground up knows that you end up wearing a lot of different hats in the beginning. So as much as I’d like to be focusing solely on creative projects and revenue generating business development plans, I still work directly with our resume clients from time to time. There is a lot to learn by interacting individually with people. In addition to market research opportunities, I also can hear where the person is stopped as a human being, i.e. blind spots that are preventing them from moving things forward with velocity.
In addition to being Cheif of Staff and the Vice President of Resume Services, I am also a program leader for a global training and development company. The courses and programs cover a range of topics, including communication, relationship building, leadership, and performance. Over the last decade, I have collectively coached and developed over 10,000 people. This has given me a unique insight into the way human beings operate, think and approach almost every area of life – particularly when it comes to their careers and professional relationships.
My studies in behavioral psychology, neuroscience, and plain old common sense have shown me a lot when it comes to job seekers landing their dream job and what is in the way.
Below I’ve included some…let’s call them “case studies” that illustrate what I mean.
When this person came to us, they were just shutting down a failing tech start-up after 3 years of being in business. They had already had their resume done by another company, but the number of interviews they got slowed down after about 60 days of applying. When I spoke to this person, they had drawn a lot of conclusions about what the issues were. For example, they thought that because of their senior title potential employers were deciding they were too senior for the positions for which they were applying. Or they thought that perhaps the resume shouldn’t be written in chronological order. On and on and on. It was kind of like listening to a conspiracy theorist at one point. The thing that stood out to me the most is that although they were on the phone with me, an expert in the resume writing world, they were completely engrossed in their own thoughts and opinions.
I interjected a few times as graciously as I could to give them background information on what was actually so with their resume and the changes we needed to make. Unfortunately, it was as though they were having a conversation with themselves. I could have put the phone down, gone to get a coffee, come back….and they’d still be talking not having noticed a thing!
At one point, I had to stop this person and be straight with them. I said, “Hey! I need to interrupt you. You are making A LOT of things up and drawing conclusions that are not there to be drawn in reality. I can speak to and educate you on resumes given that is why we are on the phone right now. However I strongly, strongly, strongly recommend that you look into our Interview Coaching Program. Now, let me address what you’ve said that is actually not accurate.”
Although I pivoted the conversation to stay locked into resume writing specifically, I could tell by how this person was being with me that they wouldn’t interview well. They were not present, they were not listening, and they definitely were not in the same conversation I was having with them. They lacked a level of professionalism and groundedness that would leave me with more concern than interest, had I been the hiring manager. The 20 minutes we were on the phone is a LONG time since human beings decide unconsciously in the first 10 seconds if they like or dislike you, trust or distrust you, etc.
I could (and did) create the most extraordinary resume the world has ever seen for this person. But that will make no difference if the person who shows up to that interview is scattered, in a swirl and unable to address what is actually being said by the interviewing parties.
This person came to The Job Sauce because they had been running a business for the last 11 years with their spouse. The last 2 years had been a rollercoaster of breakthroughs, but most recently more breakdowns. The struggle and effort of surviving paycheck to paycheck was no longer workable. They were in their 40s and their youngest son was about to enter middle school. Personality-wise, this person is extraordinary. They are diligent, responsible, approachable, and a fast learner. They are someone whom you’d be lucky to have on your team.
What’s the problem? Well when they arrived at the Resume Upgrade 1-on-1 call, they had no idea what they wanted to move into next. They only knew what they didn’t want to do. This is problematic for several reasons:
1. The effectiveness of any resume depends on it speaking to the person’s strengths and accomplishments. As a writer, I need to know what those actually are.
2. We have designed a methodology at The Job Sauce to optimize an individual’s resume against their targeted industry and roles. We are able to accomplish this by using job descriptions that represent what that client is interested in and our internal ATS Check software. Without knowing what those roles are, it is like throwing spaghetti on a wall and hoping something sticks.
3. Even if I did do my best at creating a great resume, without it being written and designed with a direction or intention – we run the risk of recruiters and hiring managers being left to figure out for themselves if this person would be a fit or not. Usually, if they start with a question, they’ll end with a “no.”
4. This person has a lot of connections they can leverage, and people love helping their friends (despite what you might think they really do). This person’s network will be unlikely able to support them in a way that will really make a difference without the person first being able to communicate their interests specifically.
At this point, you might be thinking, “Ok, I get all that. But why can’t this person just go online like any normal human being – poke around for a little bit and figure it out? This isn’t rocket science.”
True. It isn’t rocket science and it does seem pretty simple. However, you have to keep in mind that there is a human being over there who is in a world right now. What I mean is that when a human being has concerns, considerations, fears, i.e. they are surviving life or some specific situation like a failing business. Usually that human being cannot see two inches past their nose.
Even the thought of doing some research on LinkedIn or another job board site occurs like one more thing they will fail at. Have you ever heard of analysis paralysis? This person was definitely paralyzed by their mind, frozen and unable to move forward.
Again, this person would be a golden opportunity for any company. They have a diverse background, an ease about them that would enable them to work cross-functionally in any industry, and a grit that would ensure they got the job done. So unlike person #1 mentioned above, this is someone you’d fall in love with right off the bat. Ok, now what?
Having pivoted roles and industries in the past myself, I have a lot of compassion for being in this space. I’m also used to always having the answer, so not having the answer automatically puts me into a tailspin. People who are in this space can really benefit from a guided clarity coaching conversation to get connected to what they are actually interested in, what they value, and what kinds of roles would be an opportunity to express that professionally. Most people do not know that this kind of coaching actually exists, and if they do, most often times are skeptical.
We get so attached to things happening immediately that we do not normally take the time to look, digest, wonder about, explore, etc. Doing this kind of work, however, really can empower an individual to move forward in their job search in a way that is not only far more effective but also empowering along the way.
When this person came to us, they fundamentally were more committed to doing things their way. This is always a little weird when someone spends money to get support but is more interested in debating than getting what they paid for. I grew up in the Midwest with a very practical mindset. Wasting money fundamentally goes against how my brain is wired, and I do not mean something like spending $6 on a pumpkin spice latte. I mean people who spend hundreds, sometimes thousands, to impact their effectiveness in whatever endeavor they have taken on – only to fight and argue.
You might already be gathering where I am going with this. But to spell it out clearly with how this played out during the resume upgrade process, allow me to get specific:
1. The customer was unwilling to entertain job opportunities unless a recruiter was also willing to meet with them in person.
2. They refused to provide targeted job descriptions and asked that we do it for them. This is technically outside the scope of the package this person purchased but our writers are very generous and willing to go the extra mile. Following what could be perceived as stubbornness, the customer emailed wildly different job descriptions. Although our methodology allows for resumes to be written in a way that captures a diverse skillset, this was “reaching.”
3. Our process is designed to allow the customers to answer questions regarding their previous experience in written form via a Google.doc. This allows the customers to do so at a time that works for them and also ensures our writers are not spending hours on the phone with each person. This is a critical aspect of the Resume Upgrade. This person refused to answer the questions and said they were “irrelevant” in their view.
4. Finally, we are very clear in our marketing efforts, on our website, and in the initial writer/customer 1-on-1 call that the upgrade process takes 4-7 business days. We reiterate this multiple times because we also know that from time to time people don’t see or hear everything that is being said. After communicating the timeline 3+ times, this person got upset that things were not delivered according to their timeline and within 24 hours.
I definitely do not want anyone reading this article to think that we do not have regard for our customer’s needs and wants. The Job Sauce takes customer service VERY seriously. Yet if you read into what is in the unsaid here and imagine the experience this person’s manager or team might have working with them…how do you think this is going to go?
Exactly my point.
On one hand, this person might really benefit from an individual, weekly coaching relationship like we have set up in our Dream Job Career Coaching program. But on the other hand, you can’t coach someone who is not coachable. With everything, there comes a point when you have to give up your attachment to being right and play the game the way it is meant to be played. This applies to any area of life. Without altering the actions you take and who you are being in the matter, you will be doomed to repeat the past – over and over again.
WHAT IS THE TAKEAWAY?
Whether it is landing your dream job, losing weight, or getting into an amazing romantic relationship – there is not some set formula. Yes, you should have an optimized resume. Yes, you should eat more vegetables and exercise more. Yes to all of it.
I invite you to take a moment and look at the whole of it. Are you examining your effectiveness from a holistic approach? Are you investigating where you are not being ineffective and/or the point where things stop moving? Are you listening to what people are saying? Are you coachable?
When it comes to landing your dream job, you cannot expect to get the whole damn thing to work by only getting parts of it working. Wherever you are not playing the game fully, you will end up getting played by the game. The choice is yours.