A recruiter might find you on the basis of your profile's keywords. To do that she really doesn't have to know much about the work you do. She might not even know the right topics to investigate when she speaks to you.
This means that you have to give her the information she needs to represent you properly to an employer. You have to educate her during the interview.
Founders of startups face the same challenge when they speak to reporters who don't understand their hi-tech products. So, let's compare some job hunting tips from Johanna Rothman and Rich Stone to the recommendations Caryn Marooney,Facebook's Head of Tech Communications has for startup CEOs.
As a founder, you know more about your topic than anyone in the world. If you’re talking to a reporter and you just answer their questions without telling them what’s important about your company, shame on you.
Brand image is your lump of clay and you have to go out there and make it into something beautiful. Respond to their questions, but then tell them what’s important in every answer, because they don’t know, or even how to ask.
For every line on your résumé, explain the value. If your build system automation work on a project saved three-person weeks every quarter, you would say something like this:
"Saved three person-weeks every quarter via automation by delivering scripts for the build system."
That’s still a little wimpy. As a first draft, that might be good enough... However, if you are refining your résumé, or you haven’t worked for too long, you want to craft each line on your résumé. How can you clarify this line to specify your value?
"Saved three person-weeks every quarter by automating scripts for our git-based build system. We transitioned from SVN to git and I automated the scripts."
Don’t let your experience look like a job description. I see a lot of “responsible for this” or “participated in that” bullets.
If you are hiring a QB for your football team, do you hire a QB who was responsible for calling plays, throwing passes and participated in running the offense? or do you hire one who scored 30 points per game, rushed for 100 yards, threw for 350 yards, had a 75% pass completion ratio over that last 3 seasons?
For my generation that moment, 50 years ago this coming Friday, was the fault line, our Pearl Harbor and 9/11 all rolled into one. There was the golden time before Kennedy was shot when all was possible — and there was the time after the assassination, when the world seemed a much darker and more uncertain place.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th president of the United States, was my hero. I worshipped the man like no other person I have known, before or since.
As the son of New Deal Democrats, I would have supported Kennedy no matter what, but my fierce support for the man was sealed by a personal encounter long before he defeated Richard M. Nixon in the 1960 presidential election.
During the Democratic primaries, Kennedy visited Nebraska. My grandfather, a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party, took me to hear him speak. After the speech, Kennedy was led to a room at the back and my grandfather was one of those invited to meet the candidate. When the time came, he pushed me ahead.
Kennedy shook my hand, patted my shoulder, looked me in the eye (in that way gifted politicians have of making you feel that you are the only person in the room who matters) and said he hoped I would vote for him when I was old enough.
Vote? That was not nearly enough. I would have run through fire for the man.
Journalist, Tom Wolfe, learned that it didn't pay to try and be buddy-buddy with the people he was interviewing. Here he is talking about interviewing people for his book about hippies, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
Wolfe said that Kesey would often test visitors and try to determine who among them was a “weekend hippie” and who actually followed the hippie lifestyle.
“He would say, ‘All right, let’s everybody get naked and get on our bikes and go up Route 1,’ ” recalled Wolfe. “They did. This separated the hippies from the weekend hipsters very rapidly. I didn’t have to worry because I was in my three-piece suit with a big blue corduroy necktie and the idea that I was going to take any of this off for anybody was crazy.”
The suit, he said, functioned to differentiate him from the people he covered in his pieces — and made it clear to his subjects that he was not one of them.
“I have discovered that for me, it is much more effective to arrive in any situation as a man from Mars than to try and fit in,” he said. “When I first started out in journalism, I used to try and fit in. … I tried to fit into the scene. … I was depriving myself of the ability of some very obvious questions if I fit in. … After that, I gave it up. I would turn up always in a suit and just be the village information gatherer.”
A few weeks ago I announced on Twitter that I love Gwyneth Paltrow. Naturally, someone challenged me and this time it was - no surprise - @ResumeStrategy. She said something like: "That's an odd thing to say. Not many men I know would say that they love some celebrity."
Of course she meant not many real men -- but that's only because most guys are too smart to admit it. Is some guy going to go a movie and on the way home turn to his wife and say, "You know, honey, I really love Gwyneth Paltrow."? Not if he's smart
But social media is authentic and if millions of dollars were spent on Shakespeare In Love to make Gwyneth Paltrow seem totally loveable I'm not ashamed to say that it worked on me. In fact, listen to this: after I saw There's Something About Mary I was in love with Cameron Diaz and that was a low budget film.
And a few years ago I had a crush on Amy Winehouse. I liked her music and she looked good in her videos. But I guess that was shallow because my good friend, Maureen Sharib, the Tiger Mom of Telephone Sourcing took it upon herself to explain to me the meaning of the word skank.
Of course she's someone who always complains about women stabbing eachother in the back but I guess they don't like it when shallow guys like me get taken in by the media. But I'm not the only one. I read an article a few years ago by a guy who went to a wedding and who was there but Gwyneth Paltrow
So he wrote an article about it. He said she looked lovely and she sang a song and then she danced with him And at the end of the article he said, "Imagine that, I danced with Gwyneth Paltrow!".
Now, I have to admit something. I saw Gwyneth Paltrow on TV recently and she wasn't like she was in Shakespeare In Love. In fact, I've seen her in a couple of other movies and she was never the same as she was in Shakespeare in Love.
That's true with Cameron Diaz, as well. I've seen her in other movies but it was never the same as There's Something About Mary. And, of course, poor Amy Winehouse became a drug addict and when you see a picture of her, now, it's hard to feel anything but sorry.
So, now I know you're thinking, "He's going to try to swing this around to job hunting. He's going to say, 'Don't be taken in by shallow images that were crafted to impress you'." But that's not what I'm going to say. I'm going to say the exact opposite.
I'm going to say that you can get your resume written by a pro and you can have a career counselor train you to interview and you're still never going to make the kind of impression you want because you're not in a movie in which every word is written out in advance and if a scene doesn't go well they simply reshoot -- 50 times if they have to.
Have you ever seen those politicians who all of a sudden in the middle of a speech start gesturing mechanically? That's what you get from coaching. You say to yourself, "I have to move my arms now to let everyone know I'm still alive." But if you have to tell yourself when to move you're just going to look like a robot and convince everyone that you don't have any life in you at all.
I'll bet Tony Blair doesn't have to do that because he's a naturally good speaker. Barack Obama is a good speaker too and, apparently, President Kennedy was very good in interviews. He knew how to lay on the charm and you didn't have to teach him how to do it.
So my advice on interviews is: don't worry about being a charmer. Focus on your professional knowledge. And if you suffer from stage fright, well, I've read about musicians who use beta blockers to deal with that but I'm not a doctor so don't go out and take them on my say-so.
Now, before the career pros jump all over me, please note: I'm not saying that it's worthless to go to a resume writer or an interview coach. I just said that your goals have to be limited. When the interviewer says, "Tell me about yourself," she doesn't want you to hear your personal history starting at kindergarten and a coach can warn you against doing that. But if you're a drip before an interview you're not likely to change much overnight.
Carson never fraternizes with guests before or after the taping.
Newcomers are interviewed several days in advance by a talent coordinator who makes a list of the subjects on which you are likely to be eloquent or funny.
When you plunge through the rainbow-hued curtains you meet, for the first time, your host, interrogator, and judge. You have invaded his territory and once you are on Carson’s turf, the onus is on you to demonstrate your right to stay there.
Mort Sahl described what happens when a guest fails to deliver the goods.
“The producer is crouching just off camera and he holds up a card that says, ‘Go to commercial.’
So Carson goes to a commercial and the whole team rushes up to his desk to discuss what went wrong.
When an interviewer from Playboy asked Robert Blake whether he enjoyed doing the “Tonight Show,” he began by confessing that “there’s a certain enjoyment in facing death, periodically.”
"It is so wired and so hyped and so up. It’s like Broadway on opening night.
"There’s nothing casual about it. And it’s not a talk show. You got like six minutes to do your thing. And you better be good. Or they’ll go to the commercial after two minutes.
"The producer, all the federales are sittin’ like six feet away from that couch. And they’re right on top of you, man, just watchin’ ya. And when they go to a break, they get on the phone.
"They talk all over the place about how this person’s going over, how that person’s going over. They whisper in John’s ear. John gets on the phone and he talks. And you’re sittin’ there watchin’, thinkin’, What, are they gonna hang somebody? And then the camera comes back again. And John will ask you somethin’ else or he’ll say, “Our next guest is.”
Carson can cope superbly with guests who tell interminable stories. Instead of quickly changing the subject he will allow them to ramble on while he affects interest.
Now and then, however, he will let the camera catch him stifling a yawn.