The Value of Narrowing Down Choices

Credit to Sue Stone, textile artist, Womanwithafish blog post.

Credit to Sue Stone, textile artist, Womanwithafish blog post.

Along with the craft of writing, I love to craft with a needle. In exploring various needle arts, I ran into a series of videos on a curious topic: the value of narrowing down one’s options. The videos were produced by the two sons of a textile artist from the U.K., Sue Stone. That is her work in the photo above.

Theirs was a compelling lesson in the trouble with overly broad choices. I shared that series with a friend who is a gifted fine artist and who finds it extremely difficult to focus on one medium. She sculpts, paints, faux finishes surfaces, and even crochets, taking that humble folk art form to a whole new level! But she cannot stick with one art form and thus brand herself and make her way as an artist.

There is a lesson here for today’s job seeker. Attempting to prove that you’re good at too many things is not effective today. The reason is simple: software is programmed to look for words - key words - related to one type of job only. Thus, if you can be a scientist, a researcher, or a supervisor, you’ll need three resumes. Each of these roles has a different set of key words/phrases typically associated with that role.

For those clients who could go in one of two or three ways, I suggest that to narrow down the focus - and save tons of time in job searching too - a prudent move is to select one. The choice can be based on fiscal need (lots of opportunities = faster time to a paycheck), great for an unemployed person. Or, it can be based on the desire to finally go for that “dream job.”

With my skill behind the resume’s content, my client can land more interviews for that quick turnaround job offer or finally land an interview for that career change or step up “dream job.” A well written, strategic, custom, and targeted resume simply gets results. It cuts through the applicant tracking software system “gatekeeper” role and cuts through the noise of the many applicants today’s job seeker is usually up against.

Since 2007, I recall only a few clients who elected to have me compose more than one resume, with two distinct targets. One client, as I well recall, had a resume selling her into a nurse educator’s role as well as a medical equipment sales professional/account executive role. She was equally qualified. But it was her choice to immediately go with both. Others, who have taken a chance on landing interviews with one resume only have not returned for a second version. They invested in one quality resume. In so doing, they invested in themselves, in their career, their earnings, their potential, their contentment.

Yes, narrowing down options is a good thing.

If you need help, New Leaf is here to be of service.

Top Jobs 2015

This weekend I read an article written by Russell Smith of The Globe and Mail. Titled "Who needs nagging parents when there's CareerCast?" it takes a dim look on CareerCast's scoring system of "desireable jobs." I quite enjoyed the article as Mr. Smith did a fine job of drawing a parallel between CareerCast's approach and a nagging parent's admonishments to "Do something a little more practical, call your cousin who works for that high tech firm, they pay well there" and other nagging bits of "advice." (I'll let you read it to see how he incorporated "tiger-striped spandex zentai suit" into the article!)

The jobs selected were scored points for income, environment, and stress. Apparently Newspaper Reporter scored low because of "negative growth outlook," which means that opportunities are shrinking. Because of physical danger, military personnel, corrections officer, and photojournalist also ranked in the bottom ten! (Obviously the scoring system was biased. I sure hope that impressionable folk don't get turned away from a job they'd love just because of such a post!)

CareerCast is a job search site, not a scientific research organization; their articles are meant to attract visitors. But Smith was not impressed!

Smith does make a good point, and that is that jobs, vocations, careeers, lifelong pursuits cannot be made according to someone else's scoring system. My own job, Professional Resume Writer, may also score low as there is no real opportunity for advancement, the pay is not as good as a lovely government job, it's really lonely working in one's office all day, and one really never knows when the next client will book. Lots of uncertainty, no security, but no danger!

The article brings to mind how I love when a client comes to me with a new direction, one that really excites them. I've had a few recently. A couple of reorganized executives, who, just shy of 60 have decided to take this opportunity to redirect their talents into an area that makes them feel fulfilled - into not-for-profits.

Another client was so very impressed by the care her dad received as he lost his battle to cancer, that she is now working her way through an online college program in medical admininstration so that she, too, can join a group of professionals whose work has deep meaning to her. She's already getting into the environment with a volunteer position.

You know that old saying about working at something you love and you won't work a day in your life? It's so true. I am at my desk by 8am most mornings, barely take breaks (my husband has to remind me!), and find deep meaning in helping people establish, grow, or completely change their careers!