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“Spin” isn’t just for politicians….It’s for resumes too

September 17, 2012

In my years as a hiring manager, nonprofit agency director and HR professional, I have read thousands of resumes. In those readings I always noticed that candidates described what they had done in each position and organization, occasionally noting an accomplishment, but rarely presenting themselves as a marketable commodity that a prospective employer should hire.

But in today’s unfortunate job market, jobseekers absolutely must go beyond the old norm of merely listing jobs, titles, duties and dates.  Today’s jobseeker must be able to pull back, take a broader view of themselves, dissect their past positions searching for heretofore unrecognized skill sets, and look at themselves and the job market differently.

I used to look askance at anyone who parlayed the term  “spin” , thinking  that putting a different  “spin” on something or someone was done to disguise something bad, negative or dishonest by giving it a new name,  and anointing it with positive characteristics.  Maybe I had just spent too much time working with politicians and didn’t trust much of anything that they “spun”!

But now I find myself using the word “spin” with my clients to help them view themselves in a new light, to recognize the accomplishments in their careers, the results of their labors and what they can truly “sell” to a prospective employer.  Jobseekers today cannot rely on the old tried and true methods….but this does not mean that they have to lie, twist themselves into pretzels, or totally reinvent themselves.  In fact, I would not recommend any of those things, in any situation.

What this does mean is that those seeking jobs in today’s market have to be more creative, need to do more research and hard work to know themselves and their strengths, and must deduce what they have to offer to hiring employers and how to present themselves in a renewed and positive light.  “Spinning” oneself differently does not mean starting over……it means “making the most of what you’ve got.”

Everything about job hunting has changed – methods of looking have changed (social media, internet, listservs); resumes and cover letters are very different – and there are a zillion different opinions about what a jobseeker should do to get a job.  If you are struggling with what to do and how to do it, it may be time to seek some advice from a friend, colleague or professional.  Sometimes all it takes is one cogent comment to turn on the light and get you moving.

But the one key thing to keep in mind is that this search isn’t only about YOU – it is also about that employer who has specific needs to meet challenges.  Think about what YOU can do for that employer, and you will be well on your way.

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