Many years ago when I was in college, I had an economics professor who was a bit of a character. For a dry subject area, he had a way of making it all come alive. One of the things he said has lived with me these many years. It was:
That’s all very well in practice, but how does it work in theory?
In the context of job search, whether we are talking about resumes or most 90-second announcements, what I hear or get out of these gems is the practice part. Most of the information being transmitted is of a practice nature. I was here, I worked there, I did this, etc., etc.
All very dry. All very boring. And, most important to the point I am trying to make, the listener or reader is left to draw his/her own conclusions.
During my many years in the advertising business, I had the opportunity to work with, or should I say observe, several very bright creative geniuses. They were very good at the practice. They could listen to a client’s problems and could come up with a tag line that addressed ALL of the issues. They would then turn to the marketing and account folks to come up with the reasons why this tag line was an appropriate strategy or theory.
We are all challenged in the context of job search to “explain ourselves.” Who are you exactly? What is your driving force? What is it you do best? Since they were paying you the “big bucks,” there must be something you can claim as your area of expertise.
The problem is that most financial folks are long service employees. More often than not, we came with the woodwork. In the course of a decade or more with one company, there simply is no need to come in every day and figure out what it is we do and how we bring value to our employers. It is one of those “don’t ask, don’t tell” things.
Well, welcome to the present. On any given day at any given time, you may be “called to account” and have to “explain yourself” in, of course, 25 words or less.
Without fully understanding the “theory” behind who you are and what you do, you will be hard pressed to have the practice part of your career make sense.
Most careers make sense. You start in one place and gather steam moving forward. You pick up knowledge and experience that typically builds on what has come before. There is a pattern, and one that is easily explainable if you only take the time to focus on it.
Not only that, but it will make a good story as well. And after all, stories are what we live for and how we are better able to remember who you are for future reference. Be memorable by giving me a framework upon which to hang your many experiences. We will both be better off for it.