Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Not Wanted: Results-Oriented Professional

You will not stand out as a real person when you brand yourself like a zombie or a robot using done-to-death language like "Results-Oriented Professional." You will disappear into the mist.  - Liz Ryan, Forbes contributor

I disagree with some things that Liz Ryan says in her Forbes articles, but then again she has close to one million followers and I have about 70, so that should tell you something. This is one of those times in life where I think size matters. Please don't ask me about the other times.

Notice I didn't say Liz has one million LinkedIn connections, which are less than meaningless and can even be shamelessly purchased, yet she actually has about one million followers - people out there in the world who are waiting to hear what she'll be saying next. That can never be bought - it can only be earned. And I think that if we have even just one person who is willing to listen to us for about five minutes (I mean really listening, the kind where the other person isn't checking their text messages while you're speaking), that's pretty good, and it would be a sign of a life not wasted. But almost one million people, well, I'm very impressed, and even if I don't agree with her all of the time, I do want to see what she says next -  and, I can proudly say that I'm a Liz Ryan follower.

Where I do fully agree with Liz is her recent post, slamming our collective and unhealthy fetish for bizarre terms like Results-Oriented Professional. Myself indicted, I do admit, as I ducked into that same room a few years back and peeled $300 out of my wallet to have someone "power up" my resume and, as I took the entire bait, line, and sinker, hired them to "create a resume that wouldn't get lost in the shuffle." That all sounded great, because I thought that everyone's Household Manager resume might be just as boring as mine, and to get "ahead of the pack" (another line the vendor effectively used with me) I needed a "hard hitting" resume that would get the attention of, supposedly, all the right people.

But the problem was twofold. First, I discovered, and somewhat by accident, when speaking with a large agency recruiter that just about everyone out there has spent the same $300 for the same "hard hitting" resume format, and thus, I became even more lost in the shuffle than if I'd kept my somewhat tame, boring, and - here it comes - unique - resume format of simple, real-world accomplishments written in plain language - which I'd been advised would be a career killer to include on my resume if they weren't "powered up" immediately.  

Secondly, the high velocity verbiage like "Results-Oriented Professional" that was trying to light up my resume like billboard neon didn't mean anything, really, either as individual words - and even less collectively. They were, precisely, high impact because each of the words meant something different to each person (can anyone really agree on the nebulous term "Professional"... the most overused word in the English language?) and therefore, sadly, at the end of the day had little ability to actually convey any sense of who or what I am, what I have done, and even more importantly - can now do

And thirdly (I know I said twofold, but I just thought of something else), people who read these things really are sick of seeing these high impact words and phrases. I think it's because it's a bit like eating an entire bag of Oreo cookies (especially the new Cupcake flavor which instructs you right on the front of the package to "twist and lick" the cookie; who can possibly resist buying anything that actually encourages that kind of behavior?)... the first three cookies are beyond delicious, but by the time you reach the fortieth cookie in the back of the bag, you just want to vomit, and no amount of Advil will cure the pounding headache that's going to completely debilitate you over the next several hours.

Domestic agency recruiters don't want a resume coming at them at over 200+ MPH, and they don't want to read dozens of those things every day, much less even just one. And neither do you, because you want to be selected and acknowledged as having real, decipherable talent to showcase who and what you are, not just as someone having $300 to send everyone at the agency into a sugar coma for the afternoon. Liz gets this, and proposes the idea that a simple resume, one which paints your own uniqueness with some simple, earthy language along with a couple of things you've actually done, can only be had by simply being yourself. 

It sounds almost too good to be true - and that's why we don't want to believe it.

But it's true. You can stop being a silly Results-Oriented Professional anytime you want, and I'm willing to bet anyone $300 that as soon as they stop, they'll find an employer who was not looking for just another level-5 hurricane resume to knock them off the starboard side of their yacht, but was looking just for them as they are:  a real human who's not afraid to just be their own, unique, simple, and authentic self.

Please check out Liz's great article here.

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