The 4 Reasons Why Superman Didn’t Get the Job
By Rafael Herrera, Career Coach, Online Campus Support Center
“More powerful than a locomotive” is an impressive description, but even that doesn’t necessarily translate to “employable.” It turns out that, like the rest of us, a man of steel can also commit some common job-search mistakes that might cost him the opportunity he’s pursuing. Here are four areas where you definitely don’t want to follow Superman’s lead:
Superman admittedly has great press. He’s always seen saving people and the world, but if you look carefully, you’ll notice that trouble seems to follow him wherever he goes. If you are running a business, you probably don’t want to hire someone who is routinely associated with catastrophe (even if there’s always a happy ending), and the same applies for mild-mannered humans. With Facebook and LinkedIn, employers can learn a great deal about a job candidate, and the usual question is, “Does this person fit into the company culture?” Something as simple as the kind of comments and pictures you are posting on social media can provide significant insight about the kind of person you are. Beyond that, companies consider how you’d represent them if you were hired. After all, when you work for a company, you essentially represent it – and some organizations take this very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that they will pass on a job candidate if there’s any question regarding his/her suitability.
Your resume is not just a receptacle for positive adjectives or lists of skills. We are all familiar with Superman’s abilities (e.g. flight, speed, invulnerability, freeze breath and heat vision, to name a few), but throw them on a resume, and the effect isn’t as impressive as stating, “Developed and executed a tactical plan in partnership with the U.S. military to prevent an invasion of Kryptonians.” You want to develop robust bullet points – not lists – that illustrate how you’ve implemented those skills. Also keep in mind that when you state your professional accomplishments and successes, they should be targeted for the job for which you’re applying. Sure, you have amazing skills, but an employer may think, “Heat vision is impressive but…how can I use that in my accounting firm?” Focus on the appropriate skills for the job at hand when building a resume.
Dress the Part
Even if Superman made it past the hurdles above and were asked to interview, new issues would present themselves. He’d be polite and friendly, but wearing underwear over his pants wouldn’t help him. You should always prepare for an interview by researching the company and position, and by practicing some questions. What you wear to your first meeting with a potential employer, however, is important, too. The interview is a delicate part of the hiring process, so making a strong and positive first impression is key. You want to present your most professional side, and a classic suit and tie can’t hurt. If you’re not sure what to wear, keep in mind that being overdressed is better than being underdressed.
Address the Skeletons in Your Closet
Superman, mind you, is an alien from a different planet, and he hides plenty of secrets. In this day and age, a background check on Superman would raise any prospective employer’s suspicion. If you have to undergo a background check yourself, and you have a blemish on your record, address it. Should an employer dig up information that could work against you, you may not get the opportunity to give your side of the story. All the employer will see will be the cold, hard facts that come up on the report. If you bring it up first, not only will the employer not be taken by surprise, but you will have the opportunity to relate your side of the story, and possibly even how you’ve grown.
Rafael Herrera serves as a career coach at Colorado Technical University working with students through career courses and coaching. He holds a master’s degree in community counseling from Argosy University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Loyola University Chicago. Rafael also publishes CTU’s biweekly Career Services newsletter.
Image Credit: Flickr/HystericalMark