Finding your own career voice

Welcome to In Your Own Voice, a forum for finding and keeping authentic self-expression front and center in career exploration and job search. There is a lot of advice out there about how to look and sound like everyone else to get the job you want. The problem is, when everyone looks and sounds alike, there is no way to stand apart from the crowd.  As a job candidate, you can lose yourself — and all that truly makes you uniquely hirable — in the process.

The fact is, we live in a world where job applications are automated and screened for “keywords,” sometimes before a human decision maker enters the hiring process.  So while we can’t completely circumvent “the system,” we can learn ways to follow protocol while going the extra mile to get real — and get noticed.  I should know.  As a veteran “headhunter” and an emerging career counselor, I’ve seen the process in action from both sides of the coin.

A good friend of mine from Texas used to say that “you can’t just go being yourself all over the place.” She’s right to a degree. Even if you’re  a poet at heart, it’s probably not a good idea to send in a career haiku in lieu of a resume (though it might be for Hallmark).  It’s a tricky balance, but I believe that we hit the right notes when we sing within our own vocal range.

Let’s use this forum to share ideas and experiences about how to preserve our own — and best — voice in the challenging process of career exploration and job search.  I’ll start by sharing some of my own, changing names to protect the voices, of course.  Then I hope you’ll chime in with yours as well. We won’t always achieve perfect harmony, and that’s OK. Sometimes it takes the right moment– and lots of practice —  for a voice to rise above the cacophany.

Thanks for listening.