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Candidate Help & Advice

The Psychology of Finding a Job

To start with, I must make an important disclaimer. I am not a psychologist but a career coach. I don’t find it surprising that there is much in common between the two professions, and I have lots of stories to prove it. If you happen to be in transition, you may want to understand the psychology of the decision makers. It would be useful ammo you could deploy in order to promote yourself in landing a job.

Barnes & Noble has shelves and shelves of books on the subject of finding a job. I’m going to spare you from having to read several of those books. I want to focus on your need to start accepting change. It’s a known fact that our comfort zone lies within what we know. People exhibit various degrees of resistance to change. But when you’re in transition, you’d better embrace change, because if you resist, the world will go by and you’ll get left behind.

First, accept the fact that your old résumé that you just updated needs much, much more work. It needs to be revamped for today’s contemporary look and for projection of your accomplishments—not a listing of activities that someone in your position was expected to perform. I read résumés every single day, and the reluctance I see on the part of people who stick to the old style and content is a shame. Hiring managers and human resources people are interested in your accomplishments and what you excelled at and not what kept you busy. Recruiters are even more interested, since they have to sell you to hiring managers.

The next area of resistance I see is among those who stick to their own old ways and don’t jump in with both feet by using social media. They simply underestimate to what extent social media is being used by hiring managers, human resources staffers, and outside recruiters. Those hirers consult those social media for several reasons. The most important one is probably that it’s free versus their having to pay significant amounts of money to Monster, CareerBuilder, and others. In addition, social media enable them to cross-check information about you. People spend an inordinate amount of time and effort to make their résumé just right. But not so with information on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Please understand that when companies hire a job candidate, they’re making a big investment. And so, they must do their due diligence, which is similar to what you do when you’re considering a big investment or a decision. A part of that due diligence involves finding out more information about you than what you intended to provide via your résumé. My advice to people seeking employment is to become knowledgeable about and active with social media and at the same time to be careful of what they post in cyberspace. Whatever it is, make sure you’re consistent. A significant discrepancy between your résumé and your cyber persona could be very detrimental.