Stuck In The Past

By: Donalyn Leskosek Spisak


I guess it's good for people to look at things from different perspectives. The only people on the street who don't agree with the concept of targeted resumes and portfolios are those who have been working for many years and are on a hold pattern--stuck in the past and those who work in Human Resources whose job it is to eliminate people based upon the writing on their resumes.

I have a friend (someone who went to grade school and high school with me). For these purposes we can use a ficticious name. Her name is Linda. Linda called and asked me to write her resume for her. Linda is an accounting individual. She has 10 years of experience doing accounting for a particular type of organization--union shops. I wrote her resume for her. About 6 weeks later I got a call from her letting me know she got a great job. She also felt she should let me know that the people who interviewed her said her resume was terrible because it was not a historical picture of all of her past duties and experiences. I asked, hum--the people who told you this, at what point did they point out the difficulty with your resume and she replied instantly, at the interviews. She had gotten interviews based upon the resume I wrote for her.

The only job of a resume is to get you through the door. Your job is to get you hired. The resume is your bait. This is not trickery as we never lie or stretch the truth in a resume. Your resume is your sales flyer. When you're looking to purchase tires for your car, you don't look for advertisement for alternators even though the same company who supplies the tires also supplies the alternators in most cases. You look for advertisements for tires. It is the same logic here--definitely not brain surgery.

Lots of times we get so bogged down in the description we forget to address whether we have the ability to do the job. We're so focused on getting our thoughts and self praise out during a resume or interview, we forget the interviewer has his/her own agenda. We also forget the job of the interviewer is to eliminate. He/she will review hundreds of resumes in some instances and chose only those who fit the criteria of the position based upon his/her needs--not yours. If you make that cut, he/she will interview 20 people. They believe their job is to find the best possible person. Actually their job is to eliminate 19 people. Their job is to eliminate you. If you appear to be stuck in the past and not in what the future holds for you with this particular opportunity, you won't get the job.

Our age does not matter but how we think does. We have to project ourselves into the position we're applying for and if we can see a fit, we've now got to show the interviewer how it works and not leave it up to them to try to fill in the gaps and get their on their own. The competition is too high to expect such a leap of faith from someone who doesn't know us and whose only job is to satisfy the needs of someone they work for.

If you go to a firm whose job it is to redo your resume and you're paying this firm well to do this--who is their customer? Who is it they have to satisfy? You! The problem with this scenerio is that you need a resume that will satisfy a potential employer--not make them have to read between the lines to try to find some way to make you fit in their company. Again, you must never mislead or lie. Your integrity is on the line as well. If you know you have the ability to do the job and the desire to learn what else they need you to know to do it well, you can get the position. But if you stand fast, insisting they read eons of materials about things you've done to impress your past employers who do things completely different from them for completely different reasons, it won't work.

Making a change is painful. It's a process. The most painful part is actually admitting to ourselves that the change has taken place. Lots of people get downsized or laid off but don't accept it. Then, when they start their new job expect it to be the same. These people are sorely disappointed in the new position and don't work out because they haven't let go of their previous position enough to be a team player for this new company. I've seen this happen time and time again. Someone had a wonderful history with a marvelous company for many years and moved up the ladder of success and was extremely appreciated and happy in their position. Then BOOM, the company was sold--someone else decided to downsize and now they find themselves looking for that very same position and it simply does not exist. Some people never understand this and stay unhappy in their work until they retire because they still feel they're owed the opportunity they were fortunate enough to have had for a while. The past is the past and if you don't see it as such and learn from it, you could be stuck there without monetary reward. But if you see yourself as the winner who stepped up to the plate in each and every circumstance and did your best--you will also be the winner in the future as well.

Project your skills and areas of expertise to the future. Leave the past behind and keep your memories of success intact, as they are who and what you are. The company wasn't the reason for your success, you were. So when you decide what types of positions you're seeking today, remember you're successful because you chose to be. Not because someone somewhere else thought you were.

Donalyn Leskosek Spisak-Resume & Portfolio Writing Expert; Pharmaceutical Sales & Sales Management Recruiter; author of "How to Write Your Professional Portfolio", "Keeping Track of Interviews" & "Job Searching-What you Need to Know", Owner of http://www.recruitshop.com & http://www.pharmaceuticalsalesprep.com, trainer and motivational speaker. Phone: 724.831-0549..