Wednesday, February 15, 2012

It's Not You, It's Me

All the best Hollywood movies include a devastating split between lovers; the saddest line is when one party tells the other that it's not about them.

“Its not you, it’s me....” inevitably leads to a heartbreaking breakup.

It’s the same with rejection responses from recruitment agencies. Not only is the rejection praising your skills and resume, but it's just so bland and standard. In fact, after carefully reviewing numerous rejection emails (which I promised myself I would never do) - I have come to the conclusion that they were all written by either the same person, or a screenwriters guild.

Dear Lisa

Thank you for your recent application for the position of Life Guru.

We found your resume extremely impressive, in fact the quality of your resume was so outstanding that we feel we may not be able to offer you an interview for this position. You are just THAT good. Honesty, we felt you were way too good for this position, there are much better positions out there for you.

Please continue to look at our website daily for other opportunities that you may be interested in, and continue to send your resume to us so that we can review it and see if you tick the boxes on the jobs we also find on and As we have staff and systems trawling through these websites 24hrs, we may find and  advertise the job before you even wake up. We’re clever like that.

We have your resume on record, however we are unlikely to reference this as this is time consuming and the unemployment market is so high that we don’t actually have to go find candidates. They come to us.

Have you considered a job in recruitment?’

We wish you every success in your job search,

Kind Regards

Recruitment Consultant

OK, so that’s not exactly the wording, but you get the gist of it. A response telling me how great I am, but that I don’t tick all the boxes. Hey! All of my life I have never ticked all the boxes. It's what makes me great.

Seriously, this response (or one very much like it) has been received from multiple recruitment agencies. I honestly feel that they have all gone to the same recruitment school and were given a few templates to work from. They are all identical.

The email responses I am sent directly from companies differs slightly but are along the lines of:

Dear Lisa

Thank you for submitting your application with our company for the position of Life Guru.

After careful review of your resume, we regret to advise that you have not been successful in this instance in obtaining an interview. We were impressed with your skills and value you can bring to our organisation, and very grateful that you took the time to send your resume and award winning cover letter to our company.  

We are not the right company for you, we wont treat you right. There are other companies out there who are so much better for you; you deserve better than us.

Please advise if you wish us to keep your resume on record for future consideration.


Human Resources Director.

Fortunately I don't take these to heart. It's not me, it's you! Missing out that is.

Apart from there being plenty of fish in the sea, this picture has absolutely no relevance to the blog.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Shameless Act of Self Promotion

I’m going to tell you how good I am.

Right here. Right now. After all, this is what I do on a daily basis when writing my award winning cover letters. 

I am an exceptional leader. What makes me exceptional besides me telling you? Well, I enjoy leading a team of people. I get my kicks out of developing staff, watching them grow and develop in careers and as people. In my performance reviews, in the hallway discussions with managing directors, and in emails from staff, I have been told how great I am as a leader. Its true. I have evidence. 

I am a “can-do” person. I don’t just tell you I can do it, I roll my sleeves up and do it. I have often walked into the office to find myself short staffed and the only option is for me to get in and do what I tell my staff to do. As a manager and leader, I also had to do it without error and with a positive attitude. How can I expect staff to do something well if I can’t do it? 

I am a strategist. I can break down any vision you give me and turn it into a phased plan that will knock your socks off. Or heels if you’re not wearing socks. 

I am savvy. Not just school yard savvy, but I come with the business smarts. I’ve been there on day one of a start up company that is still going strong after 16 years. I’ve provided solutions to large multinational companies that made sense, and made money. 

I am an excellent communicator. Actually, I have no idea on this one, all I know is that I communicate. A lot. In various mediums. 

I am a thought leader. Again, I don’t really know if I am, but someone on twitter told me I was. Well, I don’t really know what a thought leader is to be honest, but it sounds too good to pass up. I have now included this on my resume. Lisa Fryar - Thought Leader.  

I am beginning to really enjoy the cover letter writing exercise of applying for a job. 

Everyday I am granted the opportunity to provide some positive blurb about myself, it's like a form of new age therapy where I continually go through the list of everything I am really great at. I don’t even struggle with this anymore. 

Where I need the practice is telling people in person. 

Australians are not known for their face to face self promotion. We cut down tall poppies and eat them for breakfast, so singing my own praises seems a little unnatural. This is something I really need to start working on because walking into an interview, I need to have the same confidence that my resume promotes. 

I can't exactly walk in and introduce myself as Australia’s Next Top Thought Leader. 

Any volunteers who would like to hang out with me for a little while and listen to my shameless self promotion blurb?

PS - that's me in a "marketing poster" showcasing some of my skills. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Silence is Golden.

I love silence. Peace and quiet. 

Unless I am waiting for a response to a job, then silence is deafening!

As a mother of three lovely kids, I have certainly had my moments of wanting to lock myself in a padded room wearing earplugs and an eye mask. The straight jacket goes without saying. I imagine after an hour of living with only my thoughts, I would return as a bit of a bliss-ninny to my beautiful family and cope with the noise so much better. Until the next school holidays when daily torrential rain forces everyone to catch cabin-fever.

Silence after an interview can be quite frustrating. When the interview has gone particularly well, and the hiring manager suggests further contact (and provides a timeline for the communication) and then remains silent, it’s confusing. I don't understand this. If I commit to making contact with someone, I always make contact. It’s about being a professional, a good communicator, someone who lives by their word.

I have had more than one experience where I have had successful interviews, leaving me on a high with an expectation of a phone call, an email, or even a second or third interview. I’ve even been given dates and times when I can expect this. When the communication hasn’t happened, I am pro-active and (after an appropriate time) – follow up.  After following up through email and voicemail, and then further silence – it’s not just uncomfortable but it also leaves me questioning my judgement and doubting myself. It’s an unhealthy place to be in my mind.  

It also makes me feel that my follow up emails are a desperate attempt at getting an answer. Actually they are. I like to complete things and close them off.

My message to Hiring Mangers: I can take constructive feedback, in fact I welcome it. It’s how I grow and develop as a person. Feedback is a gift to me. Bring it on. 

I don’t mind if you come back and tell me I’m not suitable for a role as long as I also get an explanation why.

A company that fails in communicating to a potential employee also provides an impression that they are not good at communications, and do not value honesty.

I refuse to doubt myself or my abilities through silence from a hiring manager. 

Hand me the earplugs?