Do you like someone tall with a good sense of humor? Or perhaps you are more focused on finding a good dancer with curly hair? I know, it’s not deep, but just like people have certain preferences when it comes to the type of romantic partner they are looking for (and admit it, we all do), the same holds true for your job search.
Do you like an energetic start-up where everyone dresses casually and works in an open space? Or do you prefer a more buttoned-up environment with a deeply-ingrained reporting structure and big offices for the executives?
Think about the past jobs you’ve had and identify the ones where you felt most at home. And if you haven’t had many jobs – or haven’t had any jobs where you felt all that comfortable in the environment – think about other types of places you have visited- homes, stores, and restaurants. When you walk into some of them, you want to stay. What are those like?
If nothing comes to mind, consider the work environments you have seen depicted on TV or in the movies. Just like identifying an actor or actress you are attracted to in determining your “type” in the dating world, you can get clues as to your perfect work environment by recalling your favorite work spaces on the small or big screen. You may have to adjust your expectations to fit into the “real world,” but you can still get some valuable clues.
How do you translate this into resume content? In the profile at the top of your resume, and wherever possible throughout the resume, you use the language of the type of place you want to work. An energetic start up? Describe yourself as “entrepreneurial” or say you are passionate about “growing innovative new organizations.” (And yes, using the word “energetic” would also be a good idea.)
Prefer the buttoned-up place? Maybe mention “hierarchy” in some way and being an “executive.” You might even be able to work in the word “traditional.” The bottom line is there are ways to subtly clue the reader into your ideal work environment, thus establishing yourself as a match for positions at those type of places.
What Do You Like To Do?
Long walks on the beach? A stroll through a museum? Round-the-clock beer pong tournaments? When creating an online profile, it’s important to accurately represent your favorite activities in order to find someone who is a match. If you like nothing more than spending all day Sunday camped out in front of NFL games on TV, you don’t want to be dragged to flea markets from dawn until dusk. Right?
Same holds true for your work environment. You have certain things you like to do and certain things that drive you crazy or (yawn) bore you to tears. Solving complex problems? “IN!” Attending meetings all day? “OUT!” Working on teams? “IN!” Managing support staff? “OUT!” Creating awesome spreadsheets? “IN!” You get the idea…
These items are easier to plant in a resume. “Adept at solving complex problems and working in teams. Creates awesome spreadsheets.” (Yup, if that’s the wording you use in life, that might be the wording I would recommend you use on your resume, depending on the type of place where you want to work. The energetic start up would probably connect to that tone. The buttoned up place? Not so much.)
What Do You Hope To Get Out Of The Relationship?
Do you want to get married, have kids, and celebrate your golden anniversary with the person who responds to your online dating profile? Or are you coming out of a relationship and simply looking for casual good times?
The same type of goal-setting can be applied to a job search. You want to find a place you can work your way up in and then get a gold watch at the end of 30 years. Or maybe you want to find a troubled company to fix for a couple of years and then move on to the next challenge. Maybe you just want to consult.
In the first case, you would work in “stable and growth-oriented” and in the second you would emphasize that “working with companies in transition” is where you shine.
If you write it correctly, you don’t have to use a lot of words to say a lot. You can cover the type of environment, what you like to do, and the length of your desired stay with a few choice phrases and some carefully-selected adjectives and verbs.
Are you limiting yourself by tailoring the language this way? Yes, you are. But the idea is to find a position in a place where you are comfortable and doing things that you are really good at and enjoy, thus setting yourself up for personal satisfaction and professional success. And like those online looking for love, wouldn’t you rather end up with a good match than trying to make a bad match work?
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