Thursday, September 16, 2010

How Relateable is Your Resume?

Big thought day today.  I woke up contemplating why I'm not a "yesman" and what makes my experience on my resume so unrelateable.

Let's take a step back...  I am assuming that my experience is unrelateable because in two interviews I received feedback that I am underqualified to work in an autonomous position, and overqualified to work in a support position.  Confused?  Me too.

My two areas of experience in this work world come from very ambiguous, magical areas: making television news happen, and teaching dinghy sailing.  Television seems to boggle the minds of most.  The most typical reactions I get when people see that I've worked at Global Edmonton is to ask if the anchors or reporters are nice.  But what are interviewers actually gleaning from that time in my life?  I never get questions like "so what did you take from that experience?" or "what did you learn that that could be helpful to our organization?".

The other double-edged sword on my resume is that I've spent a good portion of my life teaching sailing to kids and adults.  It's so foreign to people it seems like they don't understand what could possibly come out of it. 

I feel like I need to clear the air and do a better job being more relateable, so I've come up with a bullet list that has nothing to do with tasks I completed in those positions but everything to do with relateable skills.

  • Worked under pressure (sometimes LOTS of pressure) to meet a deadline... every day.
  • Learned how to be objective in the interest of truth.
  • Turned into a huge team player as everything you do in television relies on someone else, or someone else's job completely relies on yours.
  • Learned the value of how socializing with your coworkers bonds a stronger team and gives you a network to trust and bounce ideas off of.
  • Sailing is based on teamwork as well.  You must rely on another person to help you achieve your goals.
  • Being in charge of a program means that it will only be as good as your ability to pour your heart in, learn new things, and always think of making it better.
  • I've learned to manage peoples' expectations. Some students just aren't going to make the standard in the time frame they wanted to and I need to explain why (and how they can still achieve their goals).
  • I learned to make tough calls.  Sometimes I've had to disappoint people, but the best way to make people understand is to educate them about why you made your decision.
I strongly believe the era of "listen to me because I told you so" is over.  Gen Y has been programmed to ask why.  So instead of resisting and worrying about losing your authority, explain why, and in turn gain mountains of respect.

If there are any suggestions about how I can translate this relateable content onto my resume in an easy-to-understand way, please let me know by leaving a comment.  : )  Thanks!

The Quickest Way to Ruin Your Company

I woke up this morning already in thought.  I was thinking about my career, or lack thereof right now.

I decided to leave my last job in early July because the older I get the more I understand about who I am, what I'm good at, and the type of environment I want to work in.  One thing I know about me is that I have a hard time just being a "yessman" (someone that goes along with the decisions of others because they'd rather not think about it, or fear that opposition will threaten their job). 

I am not a "yessman."  Although it wasn't until this morning that I realized why.  I spent the first part of my working career in television.  Well, I worked towards where I wanted to be in TV.  I spent five years at Global Television as a script assistant, which was really a quality control position to make sure the details (both technical and not) didn't slip through the cracks.  (Note: if you see mistakes on the news, know there is a culture of blame in broadcast telelvision, so a script would say it's the producer's responsibility to catch that mistake, and the producer would blame the reporter.) 

This time as a script taught me how to be incredibly (even ridiculously) detail oriented and act as a "catch-all" for everyone's mistakes.  Thank goodness that intensity has relaxed now but I really felt like it was all on me at times.

The reason why I'm not a "yessman?"  News is based in objectivity.  The goal of a news organization is to present a balanced view of a story or topic.  Are they perfect?  No.  But everyday, in some way, shape or form, I was reminded that objectivity is #1 and we had to work as hard as possible to get the other side.  This was mainly for reporters/producers/anchors but it's a culture that's instilled into everyone.

When I went back to school and studided entrepreneurship last spring I learned one "don't."  Don't surround yourself with people who hold the same opinion as you.  The downfall of the corporate ladder is that promotions don't come to people who go against the grain.  Promotions go to "yessmen."  The benefit to surrounding yourself with people who have different experience and hold various opinions is that you will always be able to see a problem from multiple sides.  Even if you think there's only one way to look at a problem (your way) you could be very wrong, and if you create a culture where people are afraid to challenge your position, you could just be padding your company's death bed.