3 Job Seekers Compared


I want to share with you the behaviours of three individuals who are looking for employment in an effort to demonstrate how to get the most out of those who can help you as you look for work. I’ll change their names for reasons of confidentiality but use names because they are easier to read.

So let’s start with Jane. I met Jane purely by chance after having not seen her for about 7 years and at that time she was just a young teenager. Now having completed her schooling, she is starting to look for her first full-time position. When she found out I’m an Employment Counsellor, she took me up on an offer to meet and give her tips on her resume and do a mock interview.

On the day we had set, she showed up on time, stayed for two hours in the evening and took notes and took it seriously. The next day she dropped off a thank you card for my time, and has emailed me twice with the latest developments. I’m genuinely interested in how things turn out for Jane and will gladly extend myself in any way I can to help her out.

Then there’s Joan. Joan is a friend I haven’t seen for over 10 years. She is now applying for a position of responsibility running a brand new Centre. Last night she came over to my home for input on her resume, cover letter and to do a mock interview. She arrived 10 minutes late, but stayed for two and a half hours. She too took some notes, and immersed herself in the techniques I was suggesting would serve her well. Initially she got discouraged with herself for the poor quality of her resume which prior to meeting she had thought was strong. However, she didn’t let this deter her but rather fed off the advice and realized that here were concrete ways to strengthen her application. She expressed her thanks and was off just before 10:00p.m. I’m committed to providing any further help she needs.

Now I turn to Marcie. Marcie is a client I’ve been working with for almost two weeks, making myself available to her from 9:00a.m. to 2:30p.m. daily. Yesterday, she requested that we meet this morning, earlier than the 9:30a.m. mock interview we have scheduled. Her reasoning is that she has been told by an employer that she should get her resume in early today and there’s a chance she might be interviewed on the spot. Great! Now as the group I’m leading begins at 9:00a.m. I offered to meet with her at 8:30a.m. for a shortened, half hour mock interview with feedback. To this she accepted, and made a point of telling me she’d forward her revised cover letter and resume to me after class yesterday afternoon. That infers I’ll have read and made comments when we meet and do the mock interview all in half an hour.

It is now almost 8:00a.m. the day after and still no resume or cover letter. Now my motivation is still high because of my own work ethic and commitment to my clients. I’m trusting her to arrive at 8:30a.m. or earlier as I’m doing her the favour of meeting, which means I’m preparing for the class differently in advance because that half hour is essential to me; something I don’t for a moment believe she has considered.

Now the difference here is that of the three, only Marcie is in receipt of Social Assistance. If you are familiar with Bridges Out of Poverty, one of the concepts to grasp is to realize that there is a difference between the priorities and values of the lower and middle classes, and again to the upper class. So I totally understand this and make allowances for those with whom I work on a daily basis because our values are not always aligned. I start work officially at 8:00a.m., but I’m sitting at my desk at 7:30a.m. almost daily because I don’t want to be late – not even once. My clients however often arrive 5 or 10 minutes late without a word of apology.

And here’s what I really wonder; do employers know about Bridges Out of Poverty and the different values and beliefs that their employees might have? Would showing up 5 or 10 minutes late on a regular basis with no apology be tolerated by an employer? What do you think? I’m guessing that all the excuses in the world wouldn’t save your employment. Reminds me of a saying, “If you keep asking others to give you the benefit of the doubt, eventually they’ll start to doubt your benefit”.

Here’s the main thrust I want to express. If you are transitioning to the world of work, you’ve got to ACT in ways that are consistent with the expectation of employers. That means you have to act responsibly, follow through on things you agree to do, show up on time, express thanks for help you receive along the way, and in short, let your actions speak for you. Anyone can say what they think others want to hear, but your actions reveal you for who you are.

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