Wednesday, November 23, 2005

What's Your Filter?

Some people just don’t get it. Everyone thinks they do, so how do you filter them out? I mean, really? Do you want to waste your time with someone who just doesn’t get “it”? I don’t.

So I developed a filter to weed out the people I don’t need to spend time talking to, working with, playing with or just plain hanging out with. I developed this filter when I put together my first resume. I’ve since streamlined it, but it’s still essentially the same – maybe even more to the point now.

When I interviewed for the job with Oscar Mayer I decided not to hold back. Ever since the Wienermobile Program was revived back in 1988 thousands of graduating college students have applied for the coveted job of Hotdogger. When I, and eleven other prospective Hotdoggers, arrived in Madison, Wisconsin for the final round of interviews at the corporate office we were told over a thousand people had applied that year. Only twelve were going to get the call. I wanted to be one of the twelve and nothing would stop me.

So, I went all out. I laid it on the line. As Horton the Elephant often repeated “ I said what I meant and I meant what I said”. What I said was this:

“Let’s be frank, I would relish the opportunity to become an Oscar Mayer Hotdogger, travel the U.S.A, meet new people, have fun and get paid for it.”

Pretty straight forward? You bet. And it worked. That honest, upfront approach, along with a hearty does of puns helped me land the coveted job of a Hotdogger for Oscar Mayer. It was a blast. I traveled all over the country, met tons of great people (including my lovely bride), had fun and got paid for it.

From that point on I decided that this would be my career objective: To have fun and get paid for it.

It is a philosophy that has worked well for me. After all who really wants to have a career objective as boring as this one:

“To find employment with a forward looking company, which offers a transitional flexibility while facilitating development of relative matrix approaches, compatible management paradigm shifts and is ready to use third-generation programming to offer synchronised incremental processing for their clients.”

How could anyone actually be happy waking up each day to do that? Okay, so I made that up, but haven’t you read an objective on a resume that sounded similar? One that was chalk full of all sorts of marketing/management gobbledygook?

You may think that my objective is useless because it doesn’t get specific to my desired job role or function. You may think it lacks a focus. It may even be an incomplete sentence, but you know what? It works for me.

It works for me as a filter. With “To have fun and get paid for it” I am instantly able to filter out the companies or individuals that I do not want to work with or for. They don’t get it. They either don’t call me in or they ask me to resubmit my resume with a new, clearer objective that they understand – which I won’t do. They don’t get it.

The people who do get it, generally respond by saying “right on”, “exactly” or “man I wish I had that on my resume” or “I like that, can we set up a time so we can talk about that? I like your approach. You’ve kept it simple and to the point and I want to find out what “fun” means to you”. Now we’re talking!

It is a philosophy that I take to my clients. Keep it simple. What do you REALLY want or need? If you keep it simple you can achieve it. It’s all about managing expectations by drilling down to the simple human truth that guides your decision. What do you want to do and why?

1 comment:

Edna Throttlebottom said...

An excellent tip! As an underemployed art teacher, I think I'll tweak my objective a bit and see where it gets me.