Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Kristen Fife's Blog

Keeping It Real(istic)

2010-04-22 14:14:55

Yesterday I had a call with a candidate I met at the Seattle Job Social. I didn't have any positions immediately available for him, but wanted to give him the courtesy of a call since we had spoken and he sent me his resume. He was more seasoned candidate, with a significant work history.

The first thing he wanted to know, of course, was what kinds of jobs I might be able to find for him. So I told him, based on his skills and experience, that I would probably be able to find him a data analyst-type position. Then he proceeded to tell me that he wants to go into Business Intelligence, and would I be able to call him if/when I got a BI role? He had been "reading up on it" and was now ready to pursue roles in the BI field.

(Let's call this candidate George. ) I explained to George that we represent senior candidates, meaning that our clients expect us to present them with professionals that have the requisite skills necessary to peform the work they are hired for, with no discernable ramp time on basic skill sets. I then further went on to let him know that right now, in today's economy, for every job I have posted, I get bombarded with resumes, and most of the time, there are at least a few candidates that are *dead on* matches for the roles I have.

George asked me what suggestion I had for him to get into the BI field. I suggested that he set up shop as an independent consultant for small businesses and get the experience that way.

He then asked me what version of his resume I had (apparently he numbers them). I told him honestly I had just taken the content out of the document, pasted it into my calendar to call him then deleted the original. I then politely reminded him he could check his sent mail. (v86, apparently.) He tried to convince me that his resume portrayed the skills I need for senior Analyst roles.

My response? Not for the positions I have. I counseled him to tailor his resume to whatever job he was applying for before submitting. He then told me that the local Worksource (WA state unemployment) office had told him that he should always have a couple of resumes that "brand him" and then look for the jobs that fit his brand.

So, this information frustrates me. I have had many candidates tell me some of the strategies they are getting from career counselors and placement coaches, and this is *exactly contrary* to what candidates need to be doing. So I reached out to a good friend that I used to recruit with, who is now an employment counselor at Worksource (and whom I trust because she WAS a recruiter.) I told her what George had said. She looked up his record and said that he has attended "advanced" training sessions that are for C-level candidates and that yes, this is part of the information they receive. But for most people they advise them to tailor their resumes as closely to a job description as possible (thank heavens.)

A couple of weeks I was introduced to someone that is open to finding a new job. She sent me a resume, and we happened to have a position she might be a fit for. Because we were connected socially, she started to talk about some of the career goals she is thinking of pursuing, and one of them is to get into accounting. From IT. WHOA. I told her that in this economy, I couldn't counsel *anyone* to try making a radical shift like that. Going back to school to get a CPA, sure. I relayed the same candidate job info I had for George, and it was a major wake-up call for her.

My point is, candidates need to be *realistic* these days. And in George's case, he needs to *listen* better to what the professionals are telling him, not have selective hearing. I know it's tough out there. Things are starting to get better, but unless you are ready and able to branch out on your own into a new field and don't need a steady paycheck or benefits, this is *not* the time to try and make other people see your fit into a mold *you just don't*. All it does is brand you as a trouble candidate that doesn't have a grasp on what is really going on in the workforce.

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