I don’t know if I wasn’t listening or am slow to catch on, but it wasn’t until later in life that I realized how to land a job:
- The purpose of a resume is to secure an interview,
- the purpose of an interview is sell yourself well enough to receive an offer, and
- the purpose of an offer is to negotiate a compensation package for your new job.
Silly me. I thought that people should just hire me because I could do the work—and would do it well. (I wouldn’t have applied if I didn’t believe that.) I viewed the application/resume and interview steps as unnecessary irritations in the process. As far as compensation negotiations, just skip that part and pay me what I am worth.
The sad reality is that—except for a few positions, such as sales or marketing—being able to pen a compelling resume or conduct a convincing interview is no measure of one’s ability to actually do a job, merely their ability to obtain a job. The result is that unsuited people are hired and—I fear—good people are overlooked. There has to be a better way.
The same is true in politics. You need to be able to raise money to campaign and you need to be able to debate well to raise your poll numbers and you need to speak with conviction to create interest among the electorate. But these skills have little bearing on your ability to lead well.
Whether it is obtaining a job or being elected, the conventional processes do not allow the best person to prevail. There has to be a better way.
Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.