Job Search Warts That Can Sink You


Everyone has job search warts!

You know what I'm talking about . . . those job search warts that are defects in your background. The ones that worry you when you're looking for a new job.

For example, you may have been fired. Or your career has plateaued or stagnated. Maybe you've been underpaid or out of work for awhile. Or you've been arrested. Or maybe you're embarrassed because you're not competitive with other job candidates.

It could be a hundred different things that you hope an interviewer won't ask about. And we try very hard to hide it in your resume. Or just plain lie about it.

Back in the day your efforts at obfuscation may have flown. But not any more. We're living in an era where your background is going to checked and challenged. Even your credit and bank account are subject to scrutiny not to mention your health record.

So you better go in prepared to address your job search warts. Or risk being passed over.

One of the first things you must understand when you're considering a job search is that there is no such thing as the perfect candidate . . . for any job.

You see, we all tend to be defensive about what we DON'T have going for us . . . our problem areas, liabilities, defects, etc. In short, our job search warts. The bad news is that we screen ourselves out of opportunities by concentrating on those aspects that are mismatched rather than those which could make a contribution.

Hiring managers repeatedly tell us that they never turn away a candidate because he/she doesn't have EXACTLY what they're looking for. They understand that frequently a candidate will have other valuable capabilities they weren't looking for.

These hiring decision-makers report that if they have an exceptional candidate in front of them they tend to reshape the job. In business this goes on all the time.

If you think you will be screened out because you don't exactly fit an organization's qualification like a glove, you're sadly mistaken. Most organizations are on a fishing expedition when they are looking for a job candidate.

It's important to realize that if you suffer from job search warts (as everyone does) your candidacy is not sunk. The mistake we make is to turn defensive if a liability is pointed out to us.

But when we get defensive we come across like a wimp -- unsure of ourselves, lacking in self-esteem, backpedaling and sometimes being downright argumentative.

So, remember . . . everyone has warts! Most employers know this and are more interested in learning what you can contribute than what you can't. Be prepared for the tough questions. But be even better prepared to show ways you can make a difference to the organization.