Monday, March 21, 2011

Job Descriptions are Holding You Back

Think of a job description as a square hole that a company wants filled.

All of our lives we’ve been taught to cater to these job descriptions. That’s why you tailor your resume to make it look like you're the perfect fit. You strive for those extra credentials that will make you "stand out." You go to the right schools to be the perfect candidate.

And then comes a recession, and you may be 99% the perfect fit for a job, but someone else fits better. You are told over the phone that out of a thousand candidates, they only offered ten positions and all accepted. Of course they accepted.

Surely this is enough to make you angry. You’ve spent your entire life working hard in good schools, holding jobs and going to school at night, honing your skills, honing your resume to fit the job description that Corporate America puts on their websites.

Waiting for Corporate America to give you a chance is self-demeaning. Behind that web-site, behind the lavish corporate lobby is a person, aged anywhere between 25 and 35, saying yes or no. You are nothing more than a number. He doesn’t know who you are. He doesn’t understand the intangibles that you would bring the firm. You’re just another desperate face, assuming someone sees your face, trying your hardest to be what they want you to be.

I’m going to suggest that you forget about job descriptions and just be you. Stop begging firms to let you in. If you’re already seasoned in your industry and a firm won’t let you in, take their clients! You can give their clients more attention, and you can do it for a cheaper price. If you’re not a seasoned player yet, think wide. What venture can you start or join? What do you like to do? Corporate America won’t have you? Too bad for them. Go make something happen ON YOUR OWN.

By the way, there’s no shame in holding a crappy job while your working on getting other things going. Don’t believe the people who say you have to “dive in full time or don’t do it at all.” The reality is that you still need to eat while other things develop.

This will be my last entry for a while. I may write some here and there, but the flow of a new post once a week is going to stop. A couple of side projects, like I was talking about above, have started to come to life and require massive amounts of attention. I enjoy writing so I won’t be gone forever. Thanks for reading.


Patrick O'Brien said...

I think Seth Godin's blog is terrific. Short, effective, inspirational. And today we both published an article with pretty much the same message. It just so happens to be the day that I "check out" of blogging for a while. So in a way it's like a hand off. Enjoy!

Eddie said...

Damn. I read this article last. And just as I was getting hooked...