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In Your Career, Perception Is Reality

By Robert P. Poindexter

A man ran into an old friend on the street one day and after the usual “Nice to see ya’s” and handshakes, he asked his old pal if he was still in the junk business. His friend smiled and said, “No, now I’m an antique dealer.”

“An antique dealer? How does one make that type of transition?”

“Oh, it was real easy. I just went up on a ladder and changed the sign from ‘junk’ to ‘antique.’” At that, they had a good laugh and went their own way.

This exchange is a great reminder of the old axiom, “Perception is Reality.”

One of the biggest complaints we get from clients who come us is they are not getting the type of interviews they want with their current resume. Most of the time, the fix is just a matter of refocusing the document in order to attract the right kind of attention.

Clients that are using a resume replete with information that has little to do with the position they are currently seeking are going to have a hard time convincing a hiring manager they are the right person for the job. That doesn’t mean, however, that there isn’t information that would be useful there. It just means that we need to present that information in a better light.

A recent client was concerned that his age might be a factor in his not getting many offers for a job interview. This was easily fixed by focusing in on his maturity and experience level, turning what may be perceived as a negative into a positive.

Another client wanted to move into the next level of management and was concerned that her resume didn’t do enough to show she could handle the position. But after reading through it, we were able to show her plenty of examples in her work history that proved she could do the job. We just needed to put some additional emphasis on those areas that showed her capabilities and how they transferred to the position she wanted.

Accentuating the positive is always the key to having a successful job search.

Are you a Cook, or a Chef? In your most recent position, were you an Engineering Technician III, or a Department Manager–Engineering? A Division Chief, or a Director –Organizational Development? (Translating a government title into private-sector language is critical if you are moving from public service to a for-profit entity.)

Professional resume writers make it their business to use the English language to present clients in the best possible light. So, unless you find satisfaction in your current position as a sales and marketing consultant for the local Piggly Wiggly, I urge you to engage the services of one of these professionals and see just how far a well written resume will take you.

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