Too Much Advice?

September 29, 2009

In my first post here, I detailed how following a piece of advice changed my life.  Last week I encountered a situation where I questioned some advice that I received.

Several weeks ago, I took another look at my resume and decided that it needed to be revised.  I spent the next couple weeks re-examining past job accomplishments and fine-tuning all of the verbiage.  I modeled it after four or five books which profiled the “best” resumes.  It was a very challenging and, at times, painful process of crafting the best representation of my career accomplishments on paper. The final result was a resume that I felt proud of.

Then I took it to a job coach for a “quick” critique.  I had hoped that she would recommend a few minor tweaks and I would be back in business.  What I got back was a piece of paper filled with red ink.  I was a bit let down as it felt like my hard work was for nothing.

Back to the drawing board, I consulted a few more resume books to get some additional ideas.  Here’s what I discovered: many of the same changes suggested to me were considered no-no’s in different book.  Also during the week, I attended a different job-hunting seminar.  Resumes were discussed and among other things, we were advised to put our LinkedIn address on our resume. While I do not think that this advice is wrong, it was not the right advice for me.

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My head began to swirl.  It seems that every book, seminar and career coach has something different to say about how to craft the “perfect” resume and target your perfect job.  While many of their points are valid, some I don’t agree with. I ended up making some of my coach’s suggested changes, but disregarded others.

Here is what I learned: a little bit of advice is great, however, too much advice is often not a good thing. When it comes to resumes and job search strategies there are no wrong answers…only answers that are right for us.  So, if you’re looking for a job and attending seminars and talking to a wide range of job coaches, listen to all of the suggestions and advice being provided. Then, trust your best judgment about incorporating those tips into your job search.  Be wary of anyone that says that their advice is the more important than anyone else’s.

Job hunting is a stressful time and is often filled with many moments of self-doubt and personal uncertainty.  More than ever, in is important to listen to others’ suggestions, but to trust our own instincts about what is right for us.

Photo courtesy of jstrieb.

1 Nadia - Happy Lotus September 29, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Hi Tim,

You are so right. I reached the same conclusion a few years ago when everyone was giving me advice about my life. I realized that people do things based on their version of reality and rarely take into account that your reality could be completely different.

The best thing is to do what feels right for you and things have a way to work themselves out. Plus, you never know how you will get a job. I have known people who never had to send out a resume, opportunities just came to them. So there is no one way to get a job or anything in life. Yay for options! :)

2 lori September 29, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Hi Tim,
I hear what you’re saying loud and clear. And, there’s nothing more daunting than trying to summarize one’s life work in a page or three. I completely agree.

I read a book about year ago called, The Power of Who: You Already Know Everyone You Need to Know, by Bob Beaudine. It was a quick read, but the essence was that many people find their dream job by asking around and reconnecting with old friends or colleagues. Just an idea…

Without going too deep into advice mode, heaven knows that is NOT what you need (ha), I think you’ve discovered an important truth. You need to go with your gut. What feels right?

I can ascertain that you are a smart, driven, energetic guy and you already know everything you need to know to get your kick-butt dream job. And like Nadia said, things really do have a way of working themselves out. Go with the flow, keep your ears open, and stay in the groove.

Spend this gift of time doing what you’re drawn to do – write, play, workout, connect with old friends and family – enjoy the gift. Because, I have a feeling it won’t be long and you’ll be back in the whirlwind of work, commitment, and fondly reminiscing about this time in your life. Enjoy your sabbatical and keep laying tracks in the right direction. Keep moving. Inertia will lead you. Keep moving in the direction that you’re pulled.

Create Your Day! 😉

3 Tim September 29, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Nadia: Thanks for sharing your conclusion…isn’t it amazing how long it takes for us to come up with these realizations? I have a feeling that this is a big problem with people who are into self-improvement (myself included)…it takes us longer to say ‘I’m done, I’m finished, I stand by my finished product.’ Your comment touches on something that they are teaching at the career center by me…networking is the key to getting jobs. I am working on this part.

Lori: Thank you for sharing your wisdom and encouragement here (and on your blog). The Power of Who looks like a good read, especially at this time for me. You are right about keeping moving…momentum is an important thing in job hunting and in life, for that matter. I’ve been thinking about that topic lately (maybe a future post?).

4 lori September 29, 2009 at 6:29 pm

I would love to see a post about your experiences with job hunting and how they changed the direction of your life. Great idea, Tim!

And, my wisdom? Hmm….it is more that my many failures and re-directs have given me lots of experiences to know not to worry so much about employment these days. There’s always something around the corner! Trust yourself… :)

5 Lance September 30, 2009 at 5:17 am

Hi Tim,
First off, know that I hope that this time of transition is a time for you to also reflect on what truly matters to you. I think that sometimes, in our daily living, we forget that too much. And a change, or a shift – as you’re experiencing can just be a really good time to bring that more back into focus.

And I agree with this idea that in the end, we have to listen to that inner voice of ours. We’ll never please everyone – no matter what we do. And so, going with what feels right, for us, is the best place to be. And, as you said, being open to the advice of others is a good thing – it’s just that it all comes down to if it fits with who you are. Listening to “you”…

6 Tim September 30, 2009 at 11:07 am

Lori: The good news is that I am getting much better at not getting stressed about the job hunt. I’ve learned, from the past, that I’m a pretty good survivor. Now I need to not only survive, but thrive. I hope to share more experiences of what I have learned in the job hunt in the future. I will say this…back when I was a recent college graduate I worked a lot of different temp jobs. These jobs put me in some very interesting situations. If I took better notes, I would have loved to have written a book and called it “Temporary Insanity.” :)

Lance: Thanks for stopping by and for the good wishes. This has been a time of reflection which I have needed. I still have some decisions to make, but going along with what Lori said in her comment keeping moving is an important thing. In the past I may have spent too much time thinking and analyzing, but this time around I know how important it is to keep moving and to take a leap.

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