You’re in the job market and you’re looking for a position as a cake decorator for a small mom-and-pop neighborhood bakery. You spot an article on the internet regarding interviewing techniques or what to put on your resume and how to say it. The article is on a reputable career guidance website. The article mentions all kinds of things like SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and “Keywords” for your resume. Or how you should walk in a certain way, make or not make certain gestures, and try to read the interviewer’s state of mind by how he or she acts.
How good is this advice for you?
Well, the problem is that much advice is often centered on a target audience that usually fits a certain criteria. I’ve found that most career advice centers around getting that mid to upper level office job in a well-known non-manufacturing firm. This is where your resume would be scanned by the HR department, where they will often be looking for keywords, and where the interviewer may not be the person you would be working for and where the decision to hire you or not is almost entirely subjective and often made by those not even connected to the department you would be working in!
The bakery owner is probably not interested in SEO or keyword on your resume and is also the person who would be looking it over, and interviewing you. And, should you be called in for an interview, he or she is probably going to base the decision to hire on whether you can decorate a cake to their liking or not, and doesn’t care that your tie or earrings may not be the best color. He or she is just looking for someone who can decorate a cake, period.
Can the advice you get from articles like this help you even if it doesn’t addresses your case to a T? The answer is, in most cases, yes! If you use the things that the article focuses on and modify them to fit your situation.
On your resume, for instance, while you may not know what keywords a corporate recruiter would look for, you would know what a bakery owner is looking for in a cake decorator and what terms the bakery owner might use and recognize. Having these on your resume, and using the words in the interview will tell the bakery owner that you are at least familiar with baking terms and that he or she can give you instructions using those terms knowing you won’t need to have them explained to you.
And it’s not just articles about job hunting that can help. An article about saving money may talk about a “latte factor’, saying that one can save a lot of money over the course of a year if they just give up having that $3.50 latte on the way to work each morning. You may not have a latte factor, but you can use, and give up, that morning donut or Friday night beer or that 3rd movie you go to see each month in order to save money in the same way the article talks about.
Sometimes an article that looks like it may have advice that, while it may be good advice, may have nothing for you no matter how much you think about it and read it. But before you toss an article’s advice out of your head completely, do think about how it may apply to you if you mentally modify things to fit your situation. You may be surprised!
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Thank you for reading! 🙂