Mindset about Resumes and Interviews.
Some people do not know that they need to really and truly prepare for interviews . . .for them it’s a game of chance. This strategy isn’t effective and a lot of people know it but haven’t found a better alternative. One view that applies to both resumes and interviews is this: some think that just because they have a lot of years of experience then they automatically know how to craft a resume and win at interviews. Please let us all guard against posturing as though we know it all just because we have knowledge and experience in one or two areas. Take a look at my logic. If Resume scrutiny and Interviewing are two ancient not-about-to-go-away hiring activities then it seems sensible that when we learn them we are doing ourselves a good that would last our working career. Make that investment now. If you are on ‘the job of getting or changing a job’ then resume-craft and interview mastery are major prep areas for you, being widely accepted mechanisms for selecting employees. There is the preparation before you get an invitation to an interview at all and the preparation after you get an invite. Harmed with the more effective mindset, the next thing to do is to get books and online materials that teach any of this stuff. Some people who believe they can’t learn every single thing sometimes elect to pay a resume writer to do the job. In the United States, members of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches are readily on hand to provide you this service. For newer entrants into the job market, since space wouldn’t permit me to write everything you need here, let me share one of my secret recipes for interviews. One thing that I have never seen anyone do, in addition to other things which you should do is to organise trial interviews for yourself. How? Get your mentor or your Uncle or your Pastor to organise that you be interviewed by a friend of his. Better still, by a series of friends or colleagues – meeting them one after the other on different days. Mull over the idea and then give it a shot.
This talk about resumes reminds me of a story referred to by Carol S. Dweck in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. “At the University of Hong Kong, everything is in English. Classes are in English, textbooks are in English, and exams are in English. But some students who enter the university are not fluent in English, so it would make sense for them to do something about it in a hurry. As students arrived to register for their freshman year, we knew which ones were not skilled in English. And we asked them a key question: If the faculty offered a course for students who need to improve their English skills, would you take it? …but those with the fixed mindset were not very interested. ..those with a fixed mindset didn’t want to expose their deficiencies. Instead, to feel smart in the short run, they were willing to put their college careers at risk. This is how the fixed mindset makes people into non-learners”.
Mindset about Selection Tests.
For most organisations in the country, if you are a recent graduate, you would be required to sit for a selection test. A few others (very few) still require this selection test of candidates with work experience within three years. There is a mindset that is upturning the employment ambition of some candidates at the test stage. It is the fact that many handle test preparation casually. Meaning they are either unaware of the amount of serious disciplined preparation and practice that it requires or just don’t care. I think for some it’s the former. A number of people leave university or polytechnic and heave a sigh of relief – indicating that there are finally leaving all forms of ‘jacking’ and burning-of-midnight oil behind. For this people the thought of re-enacting that amount of prep for just a test is unthinkable. Another category leave school, conclude their NYSC duty and are eager to partake of the fashion, party, night-life, etc. To this group the thought of devoting large blocks of time to reading, practising and practising over and over again pages and pages of certainly un-exciting text is unthinkable – to say the least. Whereas the secret sauce with selection tests is a whole lot of practice. Even get a teacher, like you did to pass JAMB, if it gets you better prepared. Spare no expense, joining that company is important to the rest of your life.
Mindset about Employers.
Another group of people have this mindset that they can only work for certain employers. If the company isn’t in Ikoyi or Victoria Island then forget it. They even have employers that they cannot work for. Some people say they cannot work for a one-man or one-woman business, more often than not it is because the salaries aren’t competitive. Let me throw a caution here and also shed some light. Most times when someone goes ahead to start a firm, it is because the person believes he or she has the skills, experience and relationships required to make a success of that business. The implication is that if you join that person you would gain access to the skills, experience and relationships from day one. Whereas if you met that same person in a big organisation, you would either be too far from the person on the food chain or be too far removed to understand the strategic issues being dealt with. In addition one of the creative ways for joining a big firm is through experience gained in a smaller firm. All industries have tier one, two and three. Also they have support services. You can pick up skills, experience and relationships within a support firm that would be useful in helping you get into the big multinational.
When we have enough faith to envision a desired future, with courage and tenacity enough to focus on it, we then need a certain structure and system to actualize it. The ‘getting a job is a job’ mindset provides wind for your sails and a structure for your efforts. “For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life” – Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.