Monday, April 27, 2009

Gatekeepers (Part 1)

When it comes to finding a job, one of the things we learn is that no matter how impressive our credentials are (displayed in the perfect resume we’ve constructed to flaunt those exceptional qualifications), we must first get past the “gatekeeper.”

Gatekeeper! This is an unknown person—perhaps a staff member within the organization, but possibly a detached outsourced assassin—who’s the first to see my resume. The gatekeeper, who may go by one of many titles (HR Assistant, HR Generalist, Receptionist, Temp, Lizzie Borden), reads my resumes and decides if I talk to somebody in the company who makes the decision about me getting an interview with someone else before I can be considered by the person who actually does the hiring for the position. Doesn’t intimidate me!

Hopefully, this person—so crucial to my career advancement—has a reading aptitude and attention span shaped by fare well beyond The National Enquirer so they can recognize the brilliance of my background, the scope of my skills and my accumulated accomplishments. (Did you notice the alliteration? I’m very talented. Why aren’t I employed?)

However, I’m told that I probably only have 30-60 seconds to capture the gatekeeper’s attention and dazzle them with the reality of…ME! That’s the average length of a TV commercial. But in this commercial, there will be no funny animals that talk or sing, no dazzling CGI animation, no nostalgic music to tug on the emotions and without the benefit of a well-known celebrity to tout the product (i.e., ME). Only words on the page.

I’ve been in my industry for 15+ years. I’ve been recognized and honored for my work. I’ve been asked to speak to my peers at national conferences. I’ve been on TV as a spokesperson, been quoted in national magazine and had multitudes of my news releases printed by major publications. I’m good at what I do, and my record proves it.

Personal note: Don’t mean to sound like I’m bragging, but (1) I am, and (2) I’m in PR…that’s what we do
So, in the same amount of time typically used to sell the latest unproven fat-burning supplement, I must distinguish myself and convey all my abilities to this gatekeeper who’s looking at thousands of resumes from (obviously lesser) candidates and probably also over-burdened with innumerable “other duties, as required.”

Okay, I’m a little intimidated.

Aren’t we glad we have the “perfect” resume, discussed in the last post?

If it were only that simple. In my next entry, I’ll share how one of the most acclaimed science fiction movies of all time teaches us another lesson about “gatekeepers.”

1 comment:

  1. Any more, it's not just a person that's the gatekeeper, but some computer program that searches your scanned resume for key words.