When I finished highschool, I really did not know what to become. Youngsters shouldn’t be forced to make an important choice so early in their lives. I didn’t like to study, although I loved learning, so university wasn’t an option. In the end, I became a secretary, which I only slightly regret now.
It is the new fashion: get out of your comfort zone. Since I am not afraid to do so, I jumped on this train recently, and started to study again, even though I still didn’t like it. However, instead of totally stepping out of my comfort zone, I merely extended it, not intended, it just happened. Recently, I read this article (Dutch), which is about staying in your comfort zone. Basically, it says that you can only excel in what you do because you have done it like all your (professional) life. You have stayed in your comfort zone.
Be honest about it
It made me think. All this advice on how to change yourself, how to present yourself, even though it is not your style and however well intended, is just damage control. To be someone your not, just because you need to get a job, can’t be healthy in the long term, unless your so not satisfied with yourself that you like to pretend.
On LinkedIn, I frequently read articles on what recruiters like and do not like about job seekers, resumes, cover letters and so on. It almost has become a full time job to be a job seeker, and to meet the ever changing requirements and wishes only, a job seeker needs to be very high educated or so it seems. Even though I like to experiment, I don’t like to be working for recruiters. After all, matching the right candidate with a job within a specific company is beneficial to all parties. Lying is not a good thing on a resume, so don’t do it. And posted vacancies should accurately reflect what the job is about, so make it accurate. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case on both sides, which results in standard rejections (“You don’t fit our profile”) and frustrated job seekers (“according to the vacancy, I do!”).
“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost”.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
This reflects perfectly a large group of job seekers who may not have the education level which seems to be required nowadays, but which doesn’t mean they are not fit for a job. Because they have a lot of working experience which may turn out to be as valuable or even more valuable than a degree only. Those are the ones who learned, instead of studied. They haven’t come out of their comfort zone, but have extended it. They are the specialists in their own account.
Having a broad interest and therefore a wide variety of working experience is reflected in my resume. I think this is good, because it shows I am flexible and able to adapt quickly in new environments. So I am always surprised when I “don’t fit the profile”, when I am convinced that I do (even without lying to myself, I wouldn’t ever lie to you, my dear recruiters). I know, there will definitely be a lot of very valid reasons to reject me, but I am forced to work very hard to sell myself. I don’t think it is polite to not send a personal rejection. My resume states only the functions I have worked in, it nowhere says that I cannot perform the same duties in a different named function. And I do not believe this counts for me only.
My message to you, my dear recruiters, both professionally or occasionally: look beyond the degree. Look beyond what you think a job seeker should be compliant to, but be honest about the job and really match it with the right candidate. Extend your comfort zone. There is no need to step out of it, not even for you.