Posts Tagged ‘skills’

1.   It’s a good way to network, which is a much more effective job search strategy than staring at the computer screen for eight hours a day and indiscriminately spewing your resume out into the Lost Dimension of Job Seeker Infinity.

2.   Oprah’s history anyway.

3.   You’ll actually get some valuable info about what’s going on in your field of interest, and won’t have to keep listening to your whiny frenemies who keep saying, “There’s nothing out there.”

4.   You can officially slap the aforementioned frenemies upside the head for being negative.

5.   You’ve been spending too much time on the couch in your bathrobe, and you’re starting to smell.

6.   You’ll get info on what skills you need to be competitive, so you can emphasize those skills in your resume and cover letters, and/or brush up on the ones you’re shaky on.

7.   It’ll keep you in the game. ‘Cuz once you’re out, that fence is hard to climb over, and you don’t want to get your doinker caught in those wires on top.

8.   You’ll be interacting with actual humans.

9.   It’ll keep your confidence up, and give all those “talents I have to offer” thoughts long-term storage space in your head.

10.   You can actually get real live smokin’ job leads that way.

Probably not, unless of course, you’re a circus clown. But you can often find creative ways to combine your talents. Or you may leave one of your passions as a part-time endeavor, while pursuing something else as your “day job.” Love ice cream? There are actually jobs as ice-cream testers. Of course, if the ice cream has in fact been poisoned by a sociopathic factory worker, you’re out of luck. And you will probably become morbidly obese and keel over from a heart attack in a few years. But hey, go to town.

If you can’t think of any careers offhand that connect with your passions, make a list of them. After you have the Passion List, then write down all the skills used in partaking of your passions. When that’s done, find a few job search sites and plug those skills into the “keywords” search function, and see what comes up. A lot of stuff will likely be vomited up that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with anything you’re interested in, but just ignore that and focus on careers that sound exciting. Look at the Occupational Outlook Handbook and other resources such as the aforementioned informational interviewing to do a reality check on those careers, and off you go!

You can also check out some online career interest assessments, such as:, the Personal-Style Indicator at, the Myers-Briggs and the Strong Interest Inventory at, the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey at, or, to name a few. Some of these assessments are free, some are not. Some include consultations with certified career counselors, which is always a good idea, especially if you’re floundering around like a spastic fish.

The assessments are mostly about interests, but some also include self-identified skills (yeah, we talked about this earlier) and work values. Work values refers to the most important stuff you have to have in your work to, you know, make you feel whole and all that crap. Like, do you know you need to be creative in a job? Do you know you need structure, so that you don’t panic and wander off into another dimension, never to be heard from again? Do you know that you couldn’t do a job that would require you to write materials that referred to “kill fields?” Do you know that you would feel in constant need of a shower if you were part of advertising products that claimed to make elderly men sexually attractive to twenty-year-old models? You get the idea.

Here is an excerpt from What Color is Your Straitjacket? A Pocket Guide to Getting and Keeping a Job Without Going Wacko, soon to be available as an e-book.

Resumes — The Good, the Bad and the Ridiculous

Your resume needs to demonstrate your skills and how they can assist an organization in achieving their wet dreams. Here is a sample:

145 Fire Avenue, Underworld Village, TX


·    Branding
·    Speaking in tongues
·    Recruiting politicians
·    Creating and using torture devices
·    Stoking fires
·    Turning into a black pillar of smoke and killing people


·    Initiated red and black as a fashion statement
·    Generated fear in otherwise rational humans
·    Developed torture management system, resulting in 95% torture rate
·    Successfully bargained with former U.S. leaders to f*ck up the country


President, Washington, D.C.                            2000-2008
·    Almost singlehandedly flushed an entire nation down the toilet
·    Pretended to look for bad-ass weapons
·    Vacationed
·    Developed strategy for invading all countries starting with “I”
·    Successfully maintained focus on golf game during national crises
·    Delegated intellectually challenging tasks
·    Mangled the English language, causing linguists throughout the world
to cringe in horror
·    Waited for retroactive popularity to kick in

Senator, Washington, D.C.                            1947-1957
·    Created lists of thinking people and arrested them
·    Encouraged grownups to tattle on each other to get out of trouble
·    Caused massive unemployment among aforementioned thinking people
·    Threw liberals in jail


B.S. in Pitchfork Probing, University of Torture

There are lots of different ways to network effectively, and a few ways not to network if you don’t want to bug the hell out of people. Bugging the hell out of people is generally not an effective strategy.

Seven Networking Dos

1.   Make a list of contacts, including relatives, friends, ex-co-workers and supervisors, ex-spouses (well, maybe not them), other professionally-related people you know such as vendors you regularly worked with, people with whom you’re in some kind of interest or community group, ex-classmates, instructors, etc.

2.  Connect or reconnect with these folks around something you have in common.

3.   Get out there. Attend events, take classes. Go to professional networking events related to your field, networking events not related to your field, fundraisers, events related to your interests, parties, barbeques, bar mitzvahs, bachelor parties, etc., etc., etc. The more opportunities you have to chat with friends, acquaintances, and strangers, the better. As long as you don’t get too schnockered.

4.  If you haven’t already, join professional organizations related to your field if they’re not too pricey for your current financial situation.

5.  Whether it’s with someone you know intimately or a total stranger, in person or online, always make it a “mutual benefit” encounter. It’s not just about you and your job search. What can you do for them? Come on, you can think of something.

6.   Develop a positive online presence. Yes, I said “positive.” More on that below in the “Don’ts” section. Build a professional presence related to your field, and/or another topic you have a lot of knowledge about. Get on LinkedIn and Twitter. Join online professional/interest groups, post articles, (intelligently) comment on others’ blogs.

7.   Remember you have tons of talents and knowledge to offer, and you can be a valuable resource to others even if you don’t happen to be working right now. So strut your stuff a little. Not in an obnoxious way, rather in a confident “I-have-the-goods” kind of way.

And Now For the 7 Networking Don’ts:

1.   Don’t harass people. It may sound obvious (at least, I hope so), but no one will want to help you with anything, much less be within fifty feet of you, if you pester them. Connect and follow up, yes, but don’t call people every day, don’t try to contact them more than two or three times at the most (not in the same hour); generally don’t be an inconsiderate asshole.

2.   Don’t be ignorant of the online impression you may be making. Facebook photos of you with your pants on your head and blog comments in support of snuff films won’t help you. Don’t know what snuff films are? Good for you.

3.   Don’t walk up to someone at an event and say, “I heard you’re the Financial Manager at Vandalay Industries. Here’s my resume. Could you spare a couple of hours to take me to dinner so we can talk about my background? Thanks a bunch.” Of course, I know you’re not one of THOSE people. Are you? If so, stop it.

4.   Don’t join groups just for the hell of it. Yes, I know we’re all human and all of us have SOMETHING in common and all that crap. You’re much more likely to find people to connect with and have stuff to say if you have a reason to be a part of that particular group other than to network for networking’s sake. If you’re an outdoor, sports-y person, don’t take a needlepoint class in hopes of finding people who can give you job leads.

5.   Don’t try to reconnect with people who probably would prefer not to hear from you. Ex-boyfriends who cheated on you (or vice-versa) wouldn’t likely be good people to attempt to network with.

6.   Don’t put anything online unless you’ve proofread it first. Spelling and grammatical errors won’t win you any brownie points.

7.   I said it before, and I’ll say it again – Don’t make it all about you. Show your interest in the other person and whatever they’ve got going on. Offer to give them info, contacts, resources, massage, whatever. Well, only the massage if you know them really well. You don’t want to give the wrong idea. But you know what I’m saying.

Here are some that come to mind – more in a later post….

1.  How many times you’ve been married…or divorced, or engaged, or dumped, or been on a really bad date…you get the idea. Anything related to your love life doesn’t belong on your resume.

2.  Your abilities as a contortionist. Unless, of course, you’re applying for jobs with the circus, or are interested in becoming a porn star. Otherwise, bizarro skills that have nothing whatsoever to do with the jobs you’re targeting have no business on your resume.

3.  God-related activities. If you’re not applying for a god-related position (i.e., minister, mausoleum tour guide, Pope-in-training), don’t include your religious activities on your resume. Too much potential for discrimination.

4.  High-school graduation dates. Especially if you graduated when Barry Manilow was popular.  Generally, it’s not a good idea to invite age discrimination. Same goes for dates of college graduation and, of course, your actual date of birth, for the same reason.

5.  Elementary school info. Nobody cares.

6.  Your ethnicity. I sincerely hope you already knew that, but if you didn’t, there it is.

7.  Hobbies. Again, nobody cares.

8.  Volunteer work for potentially controversial organizations, especially ones that label you a racist and/or sexist asshole. So if you’re the Vice President of the Society for White Male Supremacists With Hair, keep it to yourself.

9.  Jobs you had when you were jailbait. No one cares about your camp counselor experience at Lake Winnesprocket when you were 15. And if you were 15 when Jimmy Carter was President, that goes double for you.

10. “References will be furnished upon request.” Of course they will. If an employer requests references and you tell her to go screw herself, a job offer won’t likely be forthcoming.