Getting Back To Basics

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Last week I had the privilege of speaking to a wonderful group about job searching, resumes, interviewing and networking.  I asked the group leader if there was any point in particular that he wanted me to focus on as there is only so much we can cover in one session.


He said he felt many people were frustrated and had been at it awhile so maybe something about getting back to the basics.


My first thought was the basics of the resume: function, form, message etc and possibly getting back to the basics of networking.


When I let it sink in, the terms of “getting back to” I realized I needed to go back to the very beginning.


Not the last job, the last degree, the last networking meeting; the very beginning: the mindset.


That is where it all starts.


I am always surprised at how many people looking to get hired for the right job introduce themselves as either their title or what they used to do.  Similarly, those looking to get hired by the right client introduce themselves as their title or their company.


I have said it before and I will say it again (many, many times):


You are not your title.

You are not your company

You are not a process or widget.


You are a person offering value and solutions.


That, kids, is the basics.


What is your value, what solutions do you offer?


In the meeting when I explain this I got a lot of nods in agreement which then turned to deer in the headlight looks when I passed out 3×5 cards and asked them to write at the top “I am” and complete it without the use of a title or job, only their value.


Oh sure, it all sounds like fun and games until someone makes you do something about it.


Once you have the I am statement, go back and look at your resume and see if it really supports what you wrote.  Check your networking speeches, too.


Then, to really mix things up, I asked them to think about what they really want to do: what is that ideal position and contribution they could be making.


Then really own it, see yourself in this role.  As such, what suggestions would you have to someone looking to obtain this position in terms of steps they could take.  Perhaps it is rewriting your resume, joining certain community or networking groups, brushing up on one skill set – what are some tangible steps that someone should do to reach your level.


Then pick one and do it.


That’s right – hold yourself accountable.


But here is the rub – only list four or five things – and stay flexible.


Rewrite your resume and be open to whom to submit it.

Rework your networking speech and adapt it for each situation.

Engage with new people and be open for new connections.


When we put ourselves in the position of thinking as if we have already achieved this goal our actions and non-actions align with it.  The non-actions are things like our body language and our confidence.


If you keep saying to yourself, “I’ll never find the right job” or “every time I apply I get rejected” then guess what – you are writing your own path.


Start by seeing yourself in that position and tell yourself, “I am the VP of Product Development for a small start up bringing new ideas, new clients and a great revenue stream while providing a great advantage for our clients.”


Then notice how things will begin to change.  You will stand a little straighter, sound more confident and start meeting the people that get you to that position.


Let me break it down to the basics: if you can’t see it and be it you won’t achieve it.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.



4 thoughts on “Getting Back To Basics”

      1. Thanks Lisa. I’m struggling with the fact that just because I’m great at something doesn’t mean it’s what I’m meant to do. Your advice is perfect for this struggle. You rock!

      2. I wrote a blog a week or two ago about being passionate about something doesn’t mean you are any good at it; but the opposite can be quite the struggle – good at something but determining if you are passionate about it. Sometimes I tell my clients if money were no issue and you could do anything you want to do just for sheer pleasure – what would it be? That is one way to find out your passion and passion is the key to unlocking power, possibility and promise! And you roll! (Sorry, an old pun on the end of ‘you rock’) 🙂

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