What does your urinary tract have to do with getting the job? Beware the outplacementwocky!
This newsletter is inspired by a client of mine who recently opted to use the interview coaching provided by her company’s outplacement service. She is excellent at what she does, but she hasn’t learned how to talk about it yet. I really hope that firm does a good job. This gal is the best and deserves the best!
Here at Movin’ On Up Resumes, we’re hard at work preparing to launch our own outplacement services division. Luckily, we’re virtual, so there are no cubicles to set up!
Of course, this has me researching the “competition.” I already had some idea of what’s out there because I get so many clients who ask me to redo the poor quality resumes they’ve gotten through their employers’ outplacement firms. This kind of client is common in the pro resume writing business.
For the most part, the big firms seem focused more on their corporate clients than on the individual end-clients, and they’re not current on career marketing best practices. I was given food for thought when I read this article in the archives of the Wall Street Journal.
There is much cause for concern in the article, most of it Keystone Cop-ish. But one anecdote stuck out. A candidate was coached after a mock lunch interview that she shouldn’t have ordered the cranberry juice because it could cause the interviewer to think she had a urinary tract infection. Another candidate was coached not to order Diet Coke.
John Challenger, CEO of the firm Challenger, Gray, & Christmas, Inc.—which gave this feedback to discharged Pepsi employees—said that, though this advice may seem “silly,” it is part of an overall message to always think about the impressions you make on your interviewer. “Ordering ice tea, water or coffee, doesn’t stand out. Ordering cranberry juice might.”
Exactly. Ordering something other than coffee or tea stands out. That’s great! Standing out is the key to finding meaningful employment in this market. I’m not suggesting that you order the most exotic drink, wear the wackiest suit, or try the craziest resume font just for the heck of it. But if every detail of how you present yourself is in alignment with who you are, you are living and breathing your brand. That will attract opportunities that are a good fit.
Is it possible that your brand will turn off a potential employer? I hope it will. That means you have a brand, that you stand for something. Your message, and your hire-ability quotient, will be huge with the company you’re meant for, the one whose culture and values align with yours.
And yes, if your employer has offered you outplacement services, use the resources that work for you, and take their advice with a grain of salt.