As I prepared for this tele-class (see http://www.JHACareers.com/10Traps.htm for
details), even my ‘quick list’ of traps quickly grew to exceed 50! The
class promises to be a content-rich hour…I’ve compressed as
many as I can down into 10 themes, and perhaps this will
need to lead to another “10 More Traps” tele-class in the near future!
One of the most critical traps that I
will get into in much more depth is the “If it ain’t broke,
don’t fix it” syndrome.
In a search, there is so much
frustration and anxiety, and so many people share so many suggestions
(wanted or unwanted) about the search that there is a tendency to start
to screen out the negative comments. For example, I was talking to a
new client one time and pointed out to her serious defects in her
résumé. It was, frankly, an extremely poor résumé. Even though I gave
her specific, concrete feedback on the flaws and what was needed to fix
it, she insisted it didn’t need any attention, and didn’t want to spend
any time working on it. Her comment:
“I’ve had HR people tell me what a good résumé I have.”
I moved on to talking to her about
networking (which she REALLY wanted help on), and how we would go about
turning her into a master networker. Again, she balked at the details
of what I was suggesting. By the end of our first session together, I
simply handed her back her check, telling her that neither of us would
be happy with how things turned out if we continued to work together.
I don’t advise simply jumping at every
‘constructive’ criticism you receive, automatically changing everything
you are doing just because one person said so. However, you need to
always be seeking to step out of your current comfort zone,
experimenting with new thinking, new strategies and approaches that
lead to an expanded comfort zone. This is how true growth and success
Carefully probe the criticism or
suggestion being offered, and explore why that person is offering it,
their level of expertise with the issue at hand, what their context and
rationale are, and how that fits to your situation. Go back and
compare to other, perhaps conflicting, advice you’ve received, and give
both some examination. Find ways to experiment with either way in your
search, and see what seems to work.
The worst thing you can do is assume
“it ain’t broke,” particularly if you’ve been searching for several
months and aren’t building the steady stream of referrals and
interviews for the sort of position you want!
And by the way, as to that client who
didn’t want to change what she did…the friend who first referred her
ran into her a few weeks later, and asked her how things were going.
She said she was very happy with her progress. (She had admitted to me
that her ‘progress’ was 1 interview in 7 months! And this was a few
years back, when the economy was booming.) Over the next several
months, I happened to see her in various coffee shops in the middle of
the day, not dressed in business attire, so clearly she had not landed
in the interim.
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