A couple of days ago, a reader sent me an interesting note. Really, it was an update on his job search, but at the end of it, he offered a piece of unsolicited advice that, to be honest, took me by surprise for a minute.
The reader suggested that the lead image I use here (the one on the left over there) was more suitable for a DATING site than a professional job search advisor's site. As in, something I'd use to snag a suitor over on Match.com.
Hi, I'm a married, professional 40-something mom. Thanks, dude.
It hurt my feelings a little bit, but I'm actually glad I got this note. Because it prompted me to think through, and now share with you, who I am and what I believe. This, I feel, is important, especially for those who are considering hiring me as an advisor or resume writer.
Folks, you gotta jive with the person from whom you seek advice. It's very, very important.
So here is a short list of key things I believe. I hope it will help you determine if we groove, you and me.
- ...that applying for job after job after job via job boards or company websites is often a gut-wrenching process, and huge waste of time.
- ...that you can learn, and greatly benefit from, social media tools as a job seeker. Even if you're 64 years old and thinking all of this stuff is newfangled and useless. It is not.
- ...that when you're all stressed about finding a job, a better job or launching your dream business? The last thing you need is a know-it-all stuffed shirt preaching to you about job search. Thus, my more laid back and friendly approach (which, btw, is just my genuine personality, and I'm not planning to squelch it).
- ...that personal branding matters, enormously. Whether you're a job seeker, a corporate employee or a business owner, you need to position yourself strategically and thoughtfully. The brand of YOU is the most important one you'll ever manage.
- ...that blaming your lack of job or career unrest on the economy, your spouse, your degree, your career choices to date, the HR person who won't hire you or your dog (who put hair on you before the big interview)? Won't get you anywhere productive. You'll get much further, much faster when you take full responsibility for your sitch, and take radical steps to improve it.
- ...that you are allowed to smile and have fun, even when you're at your wit's end with a job search. In fact, you need to. Another reason why I attempt to always keep a thread of levity running through JobJenny.com.
- ...that an occasional, well-placed swear word is OK. So long as it's not in your resume or uttered during an interview. I don't use them to show what a bawdy broad I am, but from time-to-time, I will use one to underscore my passion about a particular point.
- ...that you can have tattoos and still be perfectly normal, well-adjusted and professional. I live in Portland, for heaven's sakes. Everyone's running around with at least a couple.
- ...that no matter where you're coming from or where you want to go? You have it within you to get there. And it is my job and my mission to help you get pointed in that direction.
- ...that you don't just have the right, you have an obligation, to be the absolute best, most productive and most fulfilled human being you can be. We are all here to contribute something to this world. Figure out what you're here to contribute, and run like hell with it (see?)
So, there you have a quick run-down. I hope you're here because you share similar beliefs. I hope you're here because you appreciate the content and the offerings you find on JobJenny.com.
And I hope you will be forgiving when I announce that, in spite of this week's unexpected advice? I have no current plans to hop into a starched blue suit, stand in front of a giant bookcase of very important-looking (but totally unread) books, and get some "more professional" pictures taken.
Cheers, and thanks for following along!
Photo of me not standing in front of a bookcase by: Morgan Day Photography