Please Pack Your Knives and Leave the Island Immediately with this Rose

danny-z-02091– Job Search Lessons Learned from Reality TV

I watch too much TV. My wife watches more, but it’s her job (I know, awesome, right?!). Together we have a bit of a problem with Reality TV. And by problem, I mean…who else do you know that can name the cities of all 21 seasons of The Real World? (…and next year is in Mexico City, FYI.)Don’t worry – we have discerning taste. No, that’s not true – I’ll also watch Rock of Love Bus with my dog on a Sunday morning simply because it’s cathartic.

However, lucky for you, I was able to pull some valuable lessons for your job search from my little pastime. Here are some for your consideration:

The first person to talk on any given episode will most likely be off the show by the time the episode is over.

In your job search, it’s always a good idea to be forthright and tell the employer about yourself in your resume, screening, or interviewing. However, revealing information unnecessarily or too soon may disqualify you from consideration before you have time to explain your circumstances. I recently read a resume that had the phrase “I am happily married with four wonderful children” as part of the objective statement. While I am happy for this person, a recruiter or screener might place him/her in the “maybe” stack. They might judge the person as too occupied with family commitments. Besides, what does that have to do with your work objective?

I have met many a recruiter that will see a phrase like this and immediately think “Oh, that person will always be late for work because their children have school commitments.” Where did it say the children were school-aged? What if your children are all in college or career-bound themselves? That simple inclusion forced an assumption, unnecessarily. Speak first, sure – but tread carefully. First impressions can be fatal.

The casts of shows are determined by a formula.

Who watches The Bachelor? (I won’t even get started on that dude, Jason!) Well, have you noticed that there’s always a former beauty queen (or two…or three…), a dreamy-eyed Southern girl, and of course the poor woman that is always portrayed as a tiny bit obsessive (or simply crazy)? Well, there is no mystery to the madness here. The show’s producers, much like employers, have figured out the mix of personalities (and skills) that are going to give them the most bang for their buck. Are you interested in a specific company? Do some research and see what their organizational and team structure looks like. See a position available with the company? See who’s on that team and where you would fit in versus the successful teams that exist, or have existed at that organization. This will help you sell you fit into the puzzle and complete the team. Make yourself the perfect match for your potential suitor (employer)!

It’s not always what you know, it’s who you know…and who’s going to autodial for you!

My wife introduced me to a website called Vote for the Worst . Beware American Idol fans – this site is not for devoted Danny Gokey fans. The idea is simple – the website’s creators and fans choose the supposed “worst” American Idol contestant and pool their resources, phones, dialing/texting fingers, and word of mouth to keep their chosen worst contestant on the show. Terrible isn’t it?!

Yet, this speaks to the basic idea of having a network working for you. Sure, it’s not the best example for our job search, as we don’t want people recommending us for jobs because they think we’re bad at the job! However, levity aside, we would want a network solidly backing us up confident in our success. So, who’s in your network and what would they say about you and your job success? Would they say anything at all? If you don’t have substantive answers to these questions, you need to work on developing a quality network. Start with your family and friends. Ask if they know about any jobs out there in your desired profession. Ask them to mention you to people. Tell them about what you do and help them be confident in helping them sell you. Believe me; the best jobs I have worked have been due to a good network looking out for me. Just remember to return the favor!

Alright, job seekers, get out there and apply the rules of reality (TV)! Next time you’re watching America’s Next Top Model, think about how you can apply their experience to your job search (…I wouldn’t sabotage my co-worker’s shoes for example.)

Danny Zendejas is the Hospitality Business Consultant for Workforce Solutions in the Houston metropolitan area. He has over eight years of experience in the hospitality industry and workforce development and is a native of San Antonio, Texas.

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