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Friday, August 19, 2011

On Maturity

If you’re looking for a job, or trying to make a career-transition, I need you to write this down—not on your hand, preferably—and commit it to memory: you are selling yourself. You’re selling your experience, your education, your connections…but you’re also selling a more “emotional” type of value: your common-sense, your ability to present yourself as a professional adult, you’re emotional intelligence. Before you start rolling your eyes, and think about checking the new video-of-the-day on youporn, just consider this: human resources people are not stupid. They’re also not cold-blooded. They simply must gather as much information about a prospective candidate as possible to ensure that if they hire said person, that person won’t shame them![1]
I’m kidding, but not really: if a company hires you, and spends all that time and money to train you and give you benefits etc., immediately represent the company. You are part of the company’s public profile, for good or bad. So, if you apply for a job in a conservative field like banking, but your very public Facebook page shows you as “liking” Oh, I don’t know, “celebrate national go to work drunk day” or “DR Gurls Like it in the Can,” you can start to see the prospective interviewer get all shifty-eyed.  If, for example, you have a Facebook status reading, “went to work commando, cuz I picked up the bartender last night…” A) Seriously? And B) Oh, hell yeah, you did![2]
I for example, tend to date very pretty boys who aren’t necessarily the brightest in their own neck tattoos. (That is my cross to bear.) However, when I go to business events, I leave them at home, playing Gears of War 3. I don’t shame myself. (Or at least, I can do bad all by myself; I don’t need any help.)
This should be a general maxim for you during your job-hunt: think about your actions from the POV of a potential employer. Does your LinkedIn profile clearly and intelligently describe your accomplishments, skills and—crucially—what type of jobs you are looking for? Human Resources professionals have no time or inclination to read your mind. They are not there to ask the Delphic Oracle on your behalf to divine your perfect job: that is your responsibility. Enunciate.  Don’t give me that look: there’s people out there posting on various LinkedIn groups: “I have a 3.8 GPA and I need a job.” Right: doing what? Where are you located?  What have you done so far?  What can you offer besides 1) your ability to be annoying and 2) your talent for taking tests? [3] 
So, don’t make people guess: ADVERTISE your practical, relevant business skills and experience—in a mature, professional way—on LinkedIn, Facebook, and etc .[4]. Because the very manner in which you choose to advertise your skills will speak volumes as to why, or why not, a potential employer should call you in for an interview.
Let’s face it: you can have the most fantastic  resume in these United States, but if your cover letter is dotted with grammatical errors, or if Googling your name will bring up an out-of-control website, or some photos that instantly raise red flags due to their illegal-as-defined-by-the-DEA content, forget it[5].  HR people use the same Interwebs as you and I.

[1]  That sounds like something my pop would say to me when I was 8 and behaving even more obnoxiously than usual. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: being an adored only child/child-actor was a-w-e-s-o-m-e!

[2] You obviously had a fantastic night: up-top!
[3] I shouldn’t be unpleasant; they’re probably history majors, bless their debt-ridden hearts. I was a history major and was so super excited to be unleashed onto the world, not understanding that, at the time of my graduation, even a hooker had technically more real-world skills than me.
[4] I would say Myspace, but is anyone within the continental United States even on Myspace anymore? I’m pretty sure one of my cats has a Myspace page, but she hardly ever updates it.
[5] But do feel free to send me links to said blog/photos:

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