I had dinner with a friend of mine last week and we were discussing his job searching progress. He’s pretty much always worked in sales and that is the direction that he has been following during his search. After a few minutes of talking to him about it I had to ask why. He said it is because it is pretty much all he knows.
He was a little surprised at my response to his answer, which was: “But you hate it.”
Even before we had that conversation I could tell that he hated it because it was written all over his original resume – between the lines that is. He continued to try to defend his desire to secure a sales position by saying it is the only type of experience he could really show.
It didn’t work with me. I gently, well, as gently as I could, told him that if he really doesn’t like something than most likely he really isn’t very good at it. Then we got into the really nitty gritty of changing perspective – from all accounts.
Just because you have always held one type of job does not mean that is all you know – and the only type of position that you need to continue to pursue. It’s like marrying the wrong person then keep going out with that same type of person – how many divorces/breakups do you need before you realize it really isn’t working for you?
Be honest with yourself – if you really do not like what you do don’t be a masochist and keep getting the same type of position. And if you don’t stop doing that then you have no reason to complain because you’re the one that is doing it to yourself. You dumb bunny. Seriously.
I know it can be frustrating and seemingly overwhelming to first make the decision to do something different then it gets worse in figuring out how to communicate your ability to do something different to a prospective employer. Trust me, I get it – why do you think I do what I do? So, let me be of some value this beautiful Monday morning and help you get out of your box.
First, step back and think about what you do like about where you are or where you have been. Anything – just find a positive that you identify with. For my friend it started with identifying a pet peeve – he has a thing about “canned” answers. If a client is having a problem it irked him beyond belief to have to give a pat answer – he wanted to help them, really help them. Even if that meant doing some research, involving other people – whatever it took.
Tada! We hit on something. It’s called a passion. For him it wasn’t so much the sales part of it but the customer service side – the support. From there we took a look at his past employment and identified how he had provided that support from a customer service perspective.
That is the key – find a clue, a morsel, a nugget of a new direction and then go back to uncover it within your background. Rewrite your past from this perspective – your resume should be written to where you want to go, not give a cliff notes of where you have been.
I’m happy to say that he will be interviewing for a customer service job tomorrow and since he has a fresh perspective on his past he will be able to effectively communicate his abilities in this new arena. I’m so proud.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.