Why Some Jobs Are Like Leather Pants

Last week I linked to this innovative website belonging to a job seeker. I love the site! It\’s irreverent, eye-catching and a far better testament to Miel Van Opstal’s creativity than anything he could write on his resume.

A couple of commentors made a good point though and I wanted to spend a little time on it.

Questing Elf said:

Nevertheless, I’m also reminded of the words of one headhunter who told me that people like him may not be welcome at some places of employment that demand conformity. The recruiter told me she many times didn’t recommend certain candidates even though the company claimed to want self-motivated independent thinkers. So while some companies would like his brand of creativity, others may prematurely brand him as a troublemaker.

And Steven was more specific about the types of companies that might not like Miel’s approach:

The site is definitely eye catching and memorable and I think an interesting approach for landing a position at a small firm. I just have a hard time believing someone in the HR department at a fortune 500 would respond to something like this.

Both are exactly right. The website Miel set up is definitive proof that he wouldn’t fit in at a lot of companies. But that’s why it’s so great!

Your resume should not make you appealing to the maximum number of people. It should make you appealing to the right people.

If Miel had a traditional resume and sent it off to hundreds of jobs, and wound up interviewing with a staid and corporate Fortune 500 company, he’d be wasting his time. He’s not the type of person who will fit in at such a organization – in fact I think the worst thing that could happen to him is to succeed in that interview and get the job.

Likewise, a person who enjoys structure and set processes and a clear line of command wouldn’t be happy at an innovative start-up where everyone is expected to pitch in and do a little bit of everything. Or a company where creativity is valued over organization. Or a family owned business where getting approval for your ideas means catching the owner on one of his few “good days.”

If you know what type of company you want to work for, you can tailor your resume, web portfolio and social media profiles to appeal to that type of company. Using language that will appeal to them has the added advantage of turning off other companies (saving you the time and energy on interviewing for a job you should never get, because it would undoubtedly make you miserable).

Just like leather pants on a middle-aged man, some jobs don’t fit. Knowing which ones are not for you will allow you to appeal to the ones that are.

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