Perched in the chair at the optometrist’s office, I eagerly awaited my new set of eyes. Actually, I was there to update my contacts prescription which I had garnered only one year before, and still being somewhat new to the world of contacts, I admit it felt akin to receiving new eyes when two of those wiggly contacts acquaint themselves with a vital part of my anatomy.
Suddenly, the target of my vision became clearer and more vivid. I saw details that otherwise were nebulous; I could read words that otherwise were strings of blurred letters. A bit oblivious (or perhaps resistant) the past few years to the idea of wearing contact lenses or glasses on a full-time basis, I had come to the realization that, day in and day out, I was wearing my reading glasses for more than just reading. It was time, therefore, to accept my fate and ramp up my vision program.
Throughout this one-hour experience at my eye doctor’s, I encountered at least one “aha” moment and took away with me a couple of additional ideas that overlay nicely into what I do and how I think as a resume writer and career strategist.
What I do is to help my clients cast a clearer vision of their own value proposition, prescribing for them a solution that will convert their fuzzy value proposition into a more clearly focused brand message. I also educate prospective clients as to the value of this whole resume strategy process of defining their uniqueness and intangibles and attract them to the pragmatic, immediate and long-term significance of employing me for such an exercise and service offering.
How I think has evolved immensely over the years – but one of the challenges I still grapple with from time to time is the ability to briefly, yet emphatically explain the value of what I do so that it resonates with the client, compelling them to get off the fence and invest in themselves for such a service.
As such, the “aha” moment with my doctor was simple and translated nicely into “What I do” and “How I think.” He and I were discussing the contact lenses that I had been wearing the past year or so, and he was asking several customer-centric questions to assist in assessing my current situation. Throughout this brief conversation, I mentioned that I could see pretty well with the contacts, as well as I felt I was intended to see with them – they were progressive lenses that allowed me to see rather well up close and rather well at a distance, but not “really” well in either instance. That was okay, because that was my expectation (in my opinion, not unlike a resume that is designed in a “somewhat focused” way, but tries to hit multiple targets or is just a bit too general in its focus, overall).
Therefore, these lenses which I’d worn the past year had greatly improved my vision and permitted me to “not” reach for my reading glasses for most social activities — reading menus at restaurants, viewing a theater production, etc. — but the lenses were not intended for computer work or other more detailed and ongoing reading. For those I still employed my glasses. [This situation loosely equates to employing a broadcast / generally focused resume (my progressive contacts) as opposed to the deeply branded and targeted resume (my reading glasses)].
However, from time to time, I still found myself pulling out reading glasses to support the contact lenses even in social situations, and armed with this knowledge, along with a couple of other remarks I made about the overall comfort of my current contact lenses, my doctor made a recommendation by way of a question to me (and herein lies the “aha” moment): “Would you like to be able to see better?”
In this instance of awakening, I felt a question that evoked a simple “Yes” or “No” was quite remarkable and inventive. Of course I replied, “Yes, I would certainly like to see better.” (At the same time, I secretly vowed to employ a version of this simplicity into my own business interactions with prospective clients; i.e., job seekers.) Confidently, yet calmly, the doctor proceeded to prescribe a different type of contact lens that he clearly felt would give me better results. No promises made – just testimonials he’d had from other satisfied clients for whom these alternative lenses were a solution. Of course, if I felt the same did not hold true for me, I could always revert to the former lens prescription. To me, it was a calculated risk to try something new, and really the risks were quite minimal.
One of my points here is that my initial reaction was to accept his recommendation as-is without much adieu (oh, I may have asked a few clarifying questions, but mostly just to understand as best as I could as a layperson, what might be some differences, aside from better vision, that I would encounter when using these new contacts). In the end, though, the intentions of his simple question (Do you want to see better?) and simple conclusion (I’ll recommend this alternative lens) were clear – I was being taken care of – my situation likely was to improve. And like the Nike ad, I said to myself, “Just do it.”
By parlaying my experience, I hope that my career transition and job-seeking reader will better understand my value proposition. Sometimes I get so mired in the complexity of what I do and how I do it, that I may overwhelm the job seeker with information on my value.
Instead, I simply wish to ask the question: “Would you like to generate more interviews?” Or perhaps, “Would you like to generate more interviews that are focused in the area of interest you wish to land a job?” — (i.e., eliminating the residual emails and phone calls from jobs that are nowhere near your target goals, and really sharpening the results of your resume submissions).