I have been a dog owner all my life. Growing up we had a pack of at least four and as an adult I have had up to five. My current pack is at three and we are good at this number.
One thing I have learned over the years is that dogs are incredibly intelligent creatures. They understand more than you know. This means you must be careful in what you tell them because behind those sweet little furry faces, they are thinkers.
My dogs teach me a lot about life. They teach me joy, unconditional love, patience, kindness and many lessons that equate to my coaching. I made the mistake of telling my little pack something the other day and I realized that there are just some things you do not tell your dogs. It also hit me that these same things translate to job searching.
Which leads me to todays blog: the four things you do not tell your dog or hiring manager.
No, really, they do not. Dogs and people are going to understand what you tell them, not what you intended to tell them. Telling a dog, “I cannot play with you right now because I am too busy, you understand” does not equate to them getting the fact that you have a deadline. What they know is you are ignoring them. Period. You might as well tell them that you don’t love them anymore. Dogs do not connect dots. Cats chase glowing red dots, dogs are oblivious to dots.
When talking to a hiring manager and they ask you about a situation ending your response with “you understand” is the same as telling them “I really do not have a good answer to your question so I am leaving it up to you to fill in the blanks for me.” If you are asked a question that gives you the opportunity to highlight a skill set or accomplishment for goodness sake take full advantage of it.
They will not know how wonderful you are and what a great fit you are for the job if you do not tell them. Do not assume they are connecting the dots. You know what they say about assuming….
I Didn’t Mean To Put That There.
My pack has always included big dogs. I had a Great Pyrenees, Sheppard/Husky mix and currently a Lab. The thing about big dogs is there is nothing they cannot reach. My kitchen countertops are clean and bare by necessity, not design. I learned not to leave a loaf of bread in the back corner of the countertop because as soon as I leave the room it is eaten.
At this point it is of no consequence to the dog in telling them that I didn’t mean to put the bread there and that it wasn’t for them. They don’t care. If I put it there and it is within reach then it is fair game. That means if they can reach it, they will eat it. Plain and simple.
For a hiring manager this equates to putting something on your resume that you do not want to discuss or highlight. Everything on your resume is fair game. If you list it and I am a hiring manager than I have full opportunity to explore it.
Often I have found people will include items on their resume that are actually weak areas or tasks that they do not want to do. When reviewing these items in resume reviews I am told, “I didn’t mean to put that there, I really did not have a lot of exposure to it but I thought it would look good on my resume.”
No, it does not, especially if you cannot speak to it with authority and confidence. I am not a technical genius to say the least. If I were putting a resume together for myself I would not mention proficiency in certain applications because the truth be told, I might have worked in them, but it was a slow and painful process.
Trying to make myself look better by listing something I am not proficient in and then going a step further by trying to proclaim I am proficient in it is one sure fire way of discrediting everything that I have said to that point and everything after.
If you cannot speak to it as a value add then leave it off
Biscuits are Not a Priority
My dogs live for treats, and tummy rubs, but mostly food related items. Biscuits are a priority for them. I call all treats biscuits because this is their favorite word. My dogs are spoiled, they get biscuits for things like going outside and pooping. What an awesome life they live, they get rewarded for doing what they have to do by nature. They get treats for all sorts of things and they appease me by doing little doggy tricks for their biscuits. I would have a revolt on my hands if I proclaimed that biscuits were no longer a priority in my house. If it is important to them, it is important to me. It makes them happy.
You need to know the hiring manager’s biscuits. Factors include industry, clients, target markets, skill sets; what are their goals, mission statement, short and long term plans. If customer service is their biggest biscuit for the position for which you are interviewing then you darn well better come prepared with a box of results, value and accomplishments related to customer service.
If, on the other hand, you tell them that customer service is not high on your priority or proficiency list you have just lost the job. One, you were not prepared for the interview; and two, you are not the right fit. I once interviewed a young lady for an investment associate position, she would be responsible for tracking orders in the market, spreadsheets for clients and verifying costs basis. She was doing fine until she told me that she wasn’t really a math person. Math was a pretty big biscuit for that position.
I Don’t Have Time.
I eluded to this in the first point. I don’t know about your dogs but when mine want to go play and I am trying to finish something up and tell them that I don’t have time right now I get the look. One will give me the pathetic look, one will give me the disdained look and the other gives me a look of sheer confusion. This is important to them, how do I not have the time? Do I not love them anymore? Next thing you know I will tell them that I don’t have any biscuits.
Telling a hiring manager that you do not have the time to learn a new system, technology or skill set is telling them that their job and company are not a priority for you; now or in the future. You do not see it worthy to give them extra time to be a part of the team.
If you were to tell the hiring manager that you didn’t have the time to do something is another indicator that you are not engaged or interested in the position. It could very easily translate that you are only looking for a paycheck or just don’t value things in general in life.
For example, if they ask you what you know about their company during the interview and you respond with you did not have time to research the company before the position; well then, you might as well bid them goodbye right then and there. The job was not important enough to spend a few minutes doing a little research?
Or if the hiring manager wants you to learn a new system or earn a certification upon acceptance and you respond with you just don’t have the time to do that; again, bid farewell. You are letting them know that you are willing to be a part of the team to a point but certainly do not value something that is going to improve our performance and enhance you as an individual.
My dogs have taught me about unconditional love, as I stated earlier. I can be out of the good biscuits and they have to make do with the plain old crunchy ones, but they still love me. I can have a terrible day and be quite the unlovable person, yet there they are; head on my lap, sappy eyes telling me they still love me. I learned I have unconditional love for them when I still love them after cleaning up poo in places that poo should never be. This is just one wonderful thing about dogs.
Jobs, on the other hand, not so much. Start slacking on the biscuits, giving less time or effort and they do not show unconditional love; they show you the door. You have to put in as much as, or more, than you expect to get back to reach that point of satisfaction, joy and success.
If you are going after a job you have to want it; and wanting it means you have to know the ins and outs and be excited to do that and more. This is best demonstrated by doing your homework, being prepared, communicating your value and engaging in the process.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Brand Strategist & Career Coach
Certified Professional Resume Writer