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Topic Tuesday: Diverse Resumes

Mary Ramirez Community Leader Dec 18, 2018

During my journey, I've met many people who started their careers doing one thing and ended up doing something different. I find these stories to be very inspirational especially those who are in the midst of a career transition.

Here's a few questions for the group:

a. If you've experienced a similar journey, please share your story with the group. You never know who you could inspire!
b. For those leaders, managers, HR, or simply knowledgeable people, how can someone with a diverse background communicate their potential to a new employer? Please share any tips or tricks.

2 comments

What a great topic Mary!
I have had a reaaaaaaally interesting career so far (mainly thanks to oh so many mistakes..... ).

I am a classic Project Manager as a result: Jack of All Trades - Master of None!
(Although, I am a serious master in Project Management Methodology.... it's just I don't do it as a 'trade' so to speak!)
I'd love to share my story properly! Let me have some time to gather my thoughts and I'll come back on this asap!

"They want you to succeed. They're pulling for you; they want you to be a solution to their problem."

I was asking a working Hollywood actor about that gig over the extended-family holiday dinner yesterday -- there's a setup for "and hijinks ensued." In fact, he gave the secret to auditioning:

"They want you to succeed. They're pulling for you; they want you to be a solution to their problem."

"Your job at an audition is to show them your best offer for what they're doing. That's all you can do, and that's enough."

That's also the secret for non-standard work-seekers showing their value: find where you're a solution to a problem they have. Even better, where your weirdness makes a better solution.

 

The Longer Form: You Asked a Big Question

Hiring is either:

-- Find a cog: select out.

-- Solve a problem: select in.

If you can run a process to mass-acquire more cogs, what do you need people for to do that? That is, however, a way to scale massively, and maybe become the richest person in the world. (Not just the current one, the current hot industry, or even current generation.) Not the people you hire, so much. If you're non-standard, trying to get hired, you'll get filtered out.

Finding a solution that you don't know yet takes a human. Do a wide search, looking to find value unexpected. You need humans to do that. And it doesn't scale well. Hard to become the richest person in the world sitting on top of that process. The people you bring in might end up rich, too, if what they can contribute is worth it. If you're non-standard trying to get hired, you might get selected in.

If you look widely, engaging with what you find, you might trip on a working actor explaining how non-standard people get hired. Generalizing:

"Find people with a problem you can help with. Tell them how you can help. If its a fit, your weirdness will be part of the solution, even an amplifier. The right people will be pulling for you to succeed."

If "they" can't see how your relevant weirdness helps, won't decide to bring in what'll help them, decline to look at anything but your cogness, refuse to talk about problems and solutions, well, they're looking for cogs. They can't, and won't value a bunch of what non-standard you brings. Maybe it's still a good gig for you, if what they can value pays enough. Your odds of getting in are less than if you only had the cogness they are looking for.

 

"...how can someone with a diverse background communicate their potential to a new employer?"

Well, if you can understand what they need, then understand how you can help with that, and explain it, you're one in a big number. Someone who *can* and *will* figure out what the situation requires, then do that, is worth more than gold sometimes. Pre-defined cogs staying in their lane only help when the situation is static and understood. Is the offer "Come figure this out with me, doing ... well I don't know yet." or "Do as you're told, quietly and excellently, because I know it all already?" Unusual experience is a disqualifier if you just want more of the same.

Someone who's had a non-standard history, along with the general orient, align, perform cycle has probably demonstrated perspective, skills, qualities & character, and domain competence. Those, too are uncommon. Those too are disqualifiers more than qualifiers more often than you'd think.

I don't know about communicating "potential", but you can communicate the value you can deliver, and why, and why your weird stuff helps with that. Before you can communicate that, you have to find someone who wants you to solve their problem; someone who's solution is more than "Hire an appropriate cog, in the official way. What happens after that is not my concern."

It's easier to communicate your potential value to someone who can and will value what you bring. So first, find one of those.

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