Saturday, September 6, 2014


Break the Rules and Get a Great Job by Liz Ryan 

This was a recent post I read about some unorthodox approaches in the job searching process. I would say that these are somewhat controversial and might raise a few eyebrows with the traditional human resources professionals. I would not suggest breaking every rule, but it does provide some interesting approaches to stand out in your interviews.

1) Break the rule that tells you not to use "I" in your resume. How absurd! Your resume is a marketing document. You are the product. Six or seven uses of the word "I" in your resume will make it a personal document between you and the reader -- the person who could easily become your next boss.
2) Next, break the rule that tells you to list your tasks and duties on your resume. Who cares? You're different from anyone who has ever held any of your past jobs. Don't tell us about the job description. We can guess from your title what each job required. Tell us what you left in your wake in each job, instead!
3) Now, break the rule that tells you to reply to a job ad by pitching a resume into the Black Hole of an automated career portal. Your chance of hearing back are close to zero.
Write directly to your own hiring manager -- the person you'll be working for if you get the job. Send that manager a Pain Lettertogether with your Human-Voiced Resume,right through the mail.
4) Break the rule that says "No direct contact with your hiring manager," an instruction that shows up in job ads sometimes. Since when are you responsible for reading job ads? You can stop reading job ads right now. You can send a Pain Letter to anyone you want. You just have to find your hiring manager's name on LinkedIn, and that's not difficult.
5) Defy the rule that tells you to report your salary history as you apply for a job. Is the employer going to tell you the history of salaries they've paid to other people in the same role? They won't, so why should you lose negotiating leverage by passing on your private financial details? All they need is a target salary number, so give them that.
6) Break the rule that tells you to go into an interview ready to answer questions like a good little sheepie and then go silent, waiting for the next question.
An interview is not a citizenship exam. You can get your manager off the script and into a real human conversation if you try -- and if your efforts are unsuccessful, what does that tell you about the person you'd be working for?
7) Ignore the rule that tells you to hand over your job references before you've established that a strong mutual interest exists. Firms that pressure you to fork over your references early may be planning to misuse your contacts for their own purposes, as horrifying as that sounds (and is).
8) Blow past the rule that tells you to spend your energy in a job search pleasing people, from the initial resume screener to the recruiter who never calls back. The title of this story is "Break the Rules and Get a Great Job," not "Follow the Rules and Take any Crappy Job You Can Get." That is a different story that I will write the minute Hell freezes over.
9) Break the rule that tells you to wait around for weeks while a search committee takes its sweet time getting back to you. Three business days after an interview is more than enough time to decide whether you're still in the mix or not.
Leave one voice mail message that says "Just checking in before I close the file, since I'm assuming you're going in a different direction" and then truly close the file and move on. It's incredibly satisfying to do, as Christopher found out.
10) Last, break the job-search rule that tells you that employers are in the driver's seat. That may be true in the general please-someone-hire-me sheepie job seeker talent marketplace but it's never been the case in the talent bazaar where eyes-open managers hire people to solve real business problems that could otherwise tank their companies.