Be Wary of the Man Selling Career “Snake Oil”
By Admin

April 22, 2010

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There aren’t any magic bullets or magic medicine elixirs that will get you the ultimate job, nor change a bad career to good. You can’t get a “do-over” by watching a David Blaine or Chriss Angell video. You won’t even get great advice from a recruiter making a video with “New and improved” ways to do things.

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In this great depression, there are many charlatans selling career snake oil who are trying to get into the limelight of being “Career and Job Search Advisors”, or social media experts selling fashion advice. Most are not actually “selling” anything, so their motivation has to be a misplaced ego, or too much time on their hands, or they really believe that 15 seconds in the public eye will remake their own careers. remedy decisions topics language
Be wary of the man who sells shortcuts, “something new”, “secrets” or “easy ways” to do anything. He is selling snake oil, and the general public, so desperate to be re-employed, is buying it. By the barrel-full.

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Be wary of New ways to format resumes. New fonts to use, or even Colors on your resume. Watch out for New ways to interview. It’s okay to leave out a short term mistake. It’s okay to fudge. Be wary of the man selling failure insurance. Crap. All CRAP.

Here are the best fundamentals that don’t come with a bottle of snake oil:

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Your career is built, not bought. There are no short fixes to bad judgment and there are no quicker fixes to years of inattention to your skills or work habits. YOU will be interviewed, in person. YOU. Not the “Concept of You”. The reality of you.

Work on changing or improving yourself. Do it before you are desperately unemployed. Change how you approach your job and career. Pump up the volume. Think about what you do or how you do it. Don’t just look to change career fields and think all your problems will be solved. The one constant in a career field change is you. Change you. Don’t know how? Go talk to an employment expert. Or talk to a Mentor or Coach. Don’t know what that is? Look it up. An “Employment expert” is not someone who was an HR manager and is now “Consulting” until they find a job. A coach is not at the other end of the bar and is probably not your friend. A good coach has “been there, done that” and is successful. A good coach is not someone you will immediately like. They should push you into changing. Change is hard.

Your resume will most likely be read by someone who is not the hiring authority. Their job is to “Screen Out” resumes, not screen them in. The one thing all HR screeners have in common when reading resumes is that they doubt anything that is there, and look for things that are not. That is what “Screening” is about. Do NOT think that you can do a great job of hiding things on a resume and do the same in an interview. For the most part, reality will find you. And when it is discovered and it is different than you put on paper, you are out of consideration. BIG out.

If you apply to mid-size and large companies, a machine (computer application) will read your resume. It looks for key words. It looks for phrases. It looks for years of experience. It simply discards fancy formats and it knocks out your resume if it can’t make sense of it. It screens out words. It does not care about colors. I know. We have one that does this and we changed the controls so that it doesn’t do it to the extreme.

The smart way to make a resume is simple: follow the age-old conservative guidelines to building one. There are about three “normal” formats and many different ones for specialty careers. Buy a book, go to the library, spend $150 having a pro do it for you. Oh…here’s the big one: USE SPELL-CHECK! Then give it to someone to read for context and grammar. Even if you are an executive or teacher.

Recruiters are a fact of life. Use them. Recruiters INSIDE corporations are not your friends, nor are outside recruiters. Typical inside recruiters are ex-“agency” recruiters who couldn’t sell or need to have a stable job. Their job is to screen out, not in. Most are “contract” people (temps themselves), and have no real skin in the game. They are really not attempting to find the BEST people, they are trying NOT to make mistakes. They are NOT bad people, just trying to get by. Try to fool them though, and they will see it and find you out.

Use the time of unemployment to not only find a job, but to find and work on you. Find a better way of approaching your job and career, find a better way to simply be a more productive person.

Here is a prediction: Screening and hiring is going to become more automated, if the HR and purchasing geniuses have their way. Hiring is going to be done like a WalMart supply chain order. Clinical, without human judgment.  It is just one more way to cut costs. Eventually an interviewer will know EVERYTHING about you, before you interview. They will know the facts, and they will use sophisticated tests to better predict your capabilities and emotional intelligence. You will be able to run and dodge a little, but you won’t be able to hide (as much). When that happens (and it will, it is right now), only those people who have put time, thought and effort into their careers will get the prime jobs. Period. Work on yourself, NOW. In the future the font color on your resume won’t matter one silly iota. It doesn’t right now.


  1. Anonymous

    Companies are always trying to cut costs by screening resumes that don’t have what they are looking for or were so poorly put together that they are hard to understand or read. They only want to interview someone who put in the time and effort to show they are serious about finding a job. They sometimes use recruiting firms to weed them out. These people are usually the best at this because that is their #1 priority(finding the best) and the the fact that they often help their applicants make the best resume they can…they know what to look for. If your resume contains lies, it won’t matter if you get the call to interview because you will most likely completely bomb with the lack of knowledge of your own hstory(because there were so many lies). Point is, you should always want to better yourself. Absorb as many additional skills as you can and always look for good solid advice for bettering your career or finding an alternate career that suits you the best. No job is ever guaranteed. Be prepared for whatever happens. If you are always working on you, you won’t have to lie to sell yourself.