Some Settle For Mediocre Resumes

Are you better at fixing cars than the person that does it for a living and has had years of training and experience? Can you build a workshop with the same quality as a Master Carpenter? Not likely. What is more plausible and probable is that your efforts will result in something you might be okay with, but you suspect is not as professionally finished as it could be..

You can see examples of mediocre everywhere if you look. There are people driving around with duct tape covering rust holes in their cars, decks at the rear of houses that are wobbly and unsafe or people in school who are content to just get passing grades. Not to be confused with those who work hard and can only muster barely passing marks, or the ones who can’t afford a proper repair job. These are the folks who could do better but don’t put in the effort. These are examples of settling.

Now if you want to risk falling off your deck, don’t mind the jeers and looks you might get from your duct taped paint job, that’s your choice. The consequences are yours to assume and you shouldn’t be surprised if you and your guests feel uneasy on that deck or you get the odd comment about your quick-fix repair. In short, you know the consequences and are okay with the risks  you run.

It’s interesting then when someone will make their own resume, be told by a professional that its got some major issues, and still be okay with it just as it is and head on out confident that it will get them an interview. In other words, if an auto body shop offered it’s car restoration services for free, why would anyone still want to drive around with painted duct tape covering a rust hole? Or if someone knocked on your door and offered to replace or repair your wobbly deck at no charge, wouldn’t your only question be, “When can you start?”

To accept help with your resume from a professional, here’s what you have to acknowledge: 1) I’m big enough to admit the quality of what I can produce is not as good as what a professional could produce 2) Just as I have skills and expertise in some things, an Employment Counsellor or Resume Writer has the expertise when it comes to the job application process 3) Seeking out help with my resume from someone who can do it better than I can shows my intelligence.

Now I’m happy to say that many people I interact with are receptive to getting and accepting advice and suggestions with respect to crafting a better resume. There still remain many however who when being given feedback on their resume, become defensive, argue that spelling doesn’t really matter, and shun the help. Their choice as I said earlier.

It doesn’t mean of course that the poor resume they leave with is guaranteed to fail. No, I admit there may be some employer out there who does call them in for an interview even though the resume has spelling and grammar issues etc. Sure it could happen. However, the ODDS of it happening are lower than if the resume was enhanced by removing those spelling and grammar errors and the overall impression it gave was notched up significantly.

So why do people settle and hand out what they know are inferior resumes? Well for starters, it may be an issue of pride. After all, if you’ve worked hard to produce something yourself and you don’t actually know the quality is poor, it can hurt your self-esteem if even the most well-meaning professional starts pointing out all your errors. As you listen, you may very well feel foolish, yes even stupid (although I dislike that word intensely). So while some might express thanks and ask for help to improve it, some might just defiantly hand it out anyhow because they don’t want to admit their work is inferior.

In my line of work, I also see many clients with diagnosed and undiagnosed but suspected mental health issues. So in some cases, the person may actually believe the resume they have created is perfect, although the lack of results it brings them would suggest otherwise. As sad as it is, there are some people who will likely never get an interview with the resume they have, but they truly believe that resume is fantastic and their capacity to see its shortcomings even when pointed out is minimal or non-existent.

Resumes require work, and work is something many want to avoid, especially if making a resume – a really good resume – is something they don’t enjoy. The irony is however that making a poor resume is easy, but a poor resume means having to make and submit many resumes. A strong resume takes more effort, but the result is a higher likelihood of getting an interview and having therefore to do less resumes. But the short-sighted, ‘whatever requires less effort’ mentality often wins out.

My advice is obviously to get professional help with your resume. Get over it. It’s not about you, it’s about the resume. The resume professional isn’t a professional in all areas of life, but they are when it comes to crafting a resume. If their help is free, as in the case of a social service or job search agency, run and get that help!








Ever Get Mad At Yourself After A Job Interview?

There are situations in life that make us sometimes stop and say, “What a dumb thing to say! What was I thinking?” Usually these are relationship situations; boyfriend to girlfriend, parent to child, employee to boss, and of course the classic job applicant to interviewer scenario.

You know what I’m referring to if you’ve been in a job interview and you get that question where your mind goes blank. You’ve anticipated the question before and just as your mind was trying to articulate a response in your head, your tongue is in a different time dimension and blurts something inane out slightly before your brain can send it a message to zip it. Then you’re scrambling trying to go with whatever you said and that wonderful answer you once had is hanging in the universe somewhere forever probably with all those emails that mysteriously go missing.

Equally worse is a question you haven’t even remotely prepared for which throws you for a loop. Your anxiety rises while your sweat glands kick in and in the midst of your biggest fear of failure, you find yourself pleading with your cerebral cortex to give you something – anything that will get you past this interview question remotely communicating anything that could pass as human intelligence. Despite your desperation, your brain screams, “I’ve got nothing!” so loud your sure the interviewer must have heard.

Well I’m not at all sorry to say that if you smugly decided to walk into that interview with no preparation or practice, the anxiety and fear you experienced was really brought on by your own actions. Not only is the one interview a write-off, but the danger here is that if you don’t learn the lesson and prepare better, you are likely to repeat this experience again and again until you do. A series of bad interview experiences will only serve to create a pattern, and a pattern will possibly lead to major damage when it comes to how you view the entire interview process.

So how can you significantly reduce your stress in advance of getting an interview? That’s a great question and is the very first intelligent thing you could ask. It starts I believe in first understanding that in order to get a job offer, the interview is indeed necessary. You’re going to have to sit down and meet people and carry on a conversation; a conversation mind, not an interrogation.

The interview is you and them discussing a job opening and while you’re busy making your case as to why you are the best logical fit for the job, they should be making the case for why they are the employer of choice – but only if you are asking them the right questions as well. Ask no questions at all or the wrong questions, and yes it will seem like you are the only one on the hot seat.

Have a look at that job posting again. See how the employer has listed all the responsibilities of the job? Doesn’t it appear fairly logical that during the interview the questions they are most likely to ask of you will be to share your experience in previously or currently doing those same things? So if you are going for a job as a Bank Teller where you will need the skills of customer service, math and personal accountability, you are likely going to be asked to give examples of your competence and experience in those three things. Best you then have a few stories ready that prove in the telling your good skills and how current or past employers have benefitted from your use of them.

Sure you might get thrown a bizarre question you could not have anticipated, such as your favourite kind of dessert, but really good employers won’t waste their valuable time with these. The exception where they might ask you the odd question is if they suspect you are regurgitating rehearsed answers to get you off and see the real you, or if you have to by the nature of the job deal with new and odd bits of information to see how you handle these things right then, right there in the interview.

You can also get someone to interview you as practice before the real deal. Leave it to them to come up with the questions, or give them a list you prepared yourself ahead of time. In your list of questions, include any question you have previously had a hard time with or totally bombed out on. Why? Isn’t this about increasing your confidence not eroding it? Of course it is, but if the tough question you didn’t answer well is likely to rear its head in the future, you should prepare for it now so you deal with it much better in the real world.

Most people avoid practicing for job interviews because they hate job interviews. Most people then don’t improve because they haven’t practiced. Most people then have a lot of job interviews which they hate. See the cycle?

Want less job interviews? Good. Practice your job interview skills and prepare properly. Ironically, just as you get better and more at ease in job interviews to the point where you might actually enjoy going to them – you don’t get anymore. Why? Because lo and behold somebody liked what they saw and heard in the interview and offered you the job!