You may think “wow, I wish my resume or experience is more perfect. Then my job search would be so much easier” Well, think again. One of the top six pet peeves for recruiters today is a “Perfect” candidates – someone with all successes on their resume and often times can’t see any more ways to improve other than to work less.

Recruiters and employers are not looking for perfection necessarily but
– good reasons (stories) about how your experience can best help this company in this job
– does your past work history make sense? do you have a clear direction of where you are going and how this next position fit in your career path?
– what have you learned from your “mistakes”?
– when asked for your strength and weakness, do you have a true weakness that shows you are self-aware and that you are already making improvement on it?
– how quickly can you learn and pick up new knowledge?
– are you a team player or an arrogant know it all (which a perfect candidate can come across)?

Sometimes job seekers spends too much time worrying about the imperfection on their past experience. When you do that, the insecurity and nervousness will come across in your interviews when you discuss those areas. That’s never a good vibe for the hiring manager and in this economy, that may be enough reason to not invite you back for second rounds.

You cannot change the past, but what can change is your perception of what happened and how you tell the story of these experiences. You need to realize the learning from your past experiences and have a positive perception on what you may see as “imperfections” in your resume. And most importantly, you have to believe that perception! You will not be able to be convincing if you tell a story in an interview that you don’t truly believe. Also, never apologize for anything you did in the past, instead focus more on communicating what you learn from your past experiences and ultimately always bringing it back to how this helps your candidacy for this position.

By putting in effort to practice telling these stories, it can give you the leg up you need to be more effective in interviews. Good luck out there!

– Lei

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