job interview

Why Your Professional Failures Could Be Job Hunting Gold

iStockphoto.com |  gustavofrazao

iStockphoto.com | gustavofrazao

 

Guest post by Rhys Johnson (TheDreamLife_RJ)

Because employers usually take only between a few seconds and a couple minutes to read through a resume, you might feel pressure to embellish your profile, or to lie. The reality is that even if your “too good to be true” resume gets you through the door, a skilled interviewer will be able to poke holes in your application if you can’t elaborate on specific details in a satisfactory manner. And even if your fib doesn’t get noticed right away your entire employment will be based on falsified information, which could be detrimental to your career further down the road.

It’s always a good idea to be honest on your resume. Sometimes the honest approach may entail including your failures. And with appropriate context, articulating the adversity you faced can provide an employer with compelling reasons to hire you.

As an intellectual exercise, Princeton professor Johannes Haushofer took honesty to a whole new level by publishing his own “CV of failures” online. The Washington Post shared that his goal was to inspire people to continue in their respective fields and help them deal with their own shortcomings. The Telegraph reports a similar story of a senior creative professional’s experiment of sending in a resume highlighting his imperfections, which got several responses and interviews – as compared to his traditional resume, which received only a single response.

Let me be clear – a professional resume is not the place to demonstrate either your flaws or your inability to achieve results. But while I wouldn’t advise an an approach such as Professor Haushofer’s for the serious job hunter, building a resume with examples of your ability to overcome professional adversity can bolster your candidacy, by demonstrating the positive elements and by providing great fodder for the interview. Here are some examples:


Example 1: Willingness to push yourself, and to take sensible risks.
A person who doesn’t fail is either perfect (which nobody is) or unwilling to try new things. An experience where you stepped out of your comfort zone in spite of your fear of failing can reassure potential employers that you’re willing to take good, well-reasoned risks which may pay the company dividends. Even if the project as whole didn’t succeed, highlight on your resume the aspects of the project that indeed went right.

Resume Example: “Led pilot project testing new lines of business. Sold idea to CEO, organized project team, and managed initiative through test phases.”


Example 2: Professional resilience and an ability to cope with failure.
Conveying that you can handle challenging situations is also something that potential employers want to know about you. The Balance explains that employers want to know if the person they’re considering for the job will be able to keep their composure and focus in times of hardship. Corporate life is full of ups and downs. In your resume, highlight the obstacles you handled with finesse and grace and, most importantly, through which you persevered and were able to achieve satisfactory resolution.

Resume Example: “Managed rapid department reorganization following layoff of 90% of team. Conducted needs analysis, and redesigned workflows to adjust to smaller workforce.”


Example 3: An ability to learn.
Failures can be the best teachers if you’re willing to learn from them. Highlight real challenges you’ve overcome, in which you were able to adapt your learnings into a successful project. The best such examples for your resume are those in which you were able to quickly adapt to a difficult situation.

Resume Example: “Successfully turned around project 25% behind target timeline, achieving on-time completion below budget.”

A resume that showcases your ability to overcome adversity will catch a potential employer's attention. The skills for your job can be taught and acquired, but ultimately, your attitude and mindset are the factors that will truly help you succeed.


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.

I Lied To The Recruiter, Saying I Have Another Job Offer So They Hasten Their Hiring Process. Was This A Bad Move?

iStockphoto.com |  Noppadol_Anaporn

iStockphoto.com | Noppadol_Anaporn

 

Is it a good idea to tell an employer you are consider a job offer, so that the company speeds up the hiring process? Even if you don't have one?

When I recruited, I’ve seen the “I have another offer” strategy blow up in candidates’ faces.

Here’s why. Hiring managers don’t like to be rushed - they like to feel that they are in control of making a well-thought out decision. Sometimes this deliberation, while candidate-unfriendly, adds to the overall time of the interview process.

Bear in mind, hiring managers don’t make a decision in a vacuum. They interview several candidates looking for the right fit, and proceed from there.

I once had a hiring manager tell me, “If it’s not ‘yes,’ it’s ‘no.’” What this means is that if they’re not completely sold on the candidate, then they feel no need to pull the trigger. The bar is high for the candidate to impress the hiring manager.

Crappy? Yes.

Reality? Also, yes.

By putting a fire under the hiring manager, you’re forcing their hand, possibly before they are ready to make a decision. And by visibly trying to take control of the situation, you may be putting the manager in the uncomfortable position of having to make a selection without having all the information they require or want.

If you’re truly the solution to the hiring manager’s problems, and you both agree that you are the solution the hiring manager’s problems, then you’ll probably push things forward in your favor, more quickly.

On the other hand, if you’re one of several candidates where there’s not yet a clear winner, then you may be blowing yourself out of the water. The manager may decide that your timeline and his/her timeline don’t correspond, so they’ll just cut you loose. If it’s not “yes,” it’s “no.”

I’m not saying that the hiring manager is right to proceed in this way. But you need to be prepared to deal with the psychology of the situation and the results.
 

This blog was originally published on Quora.


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.

6 Fantastic – And Credible – Reasons To Tell Employers You're Looking For a New Job

iStockphoto.com | (  AndreyPopov  )

iStockphoto.com | ( AndreyPopov )

 

Potential employers will ask you why you're looking for a job. They want to know why you're taking the time to meet with them to ensure that your goals align with their goals.

Telling an employer you're interviewing because your job stinks, or because your boss is a jerk, is a poor strategy. Not only are answers such as these crass, they will make a potential employer believe you're disgruntled and they won't want to introduce toxicity into their environment.

The key to answering this question is finding a solutions-oriented answer. Here are some reasons to tell that prospective employer you're playing the job market. Answers which generally focus on personal growth tend to resonate with hiring managers, and a bit of soul searching should guide your response. Here are some suggestions:

  1. I've heard great things about your company from my friend who works here, and I'd love to be part of that.
     
  2. My current organization is small, and I've reached a ceiling. I'm ready for a new challenge.
     
  3. While I love my job, the commute is too far and I need something a little bit closer to home.
     
  4. I've graduated with my Master's degree in a different discipline, and I'm looking for something in that new direction.
     
  5. My current role is a temporary assignment, so I'm seeking something more permanent.
     
  6. My dream has been to work on driving the success of products such as your company's. When I saw this position open up, I knew I had to apply.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.