By Lisa Parker

Many job seekers realize the position of their dreams may not be an option for the foreseeable future. Though it’s great most are flexible and open to exploring other options, it can be tough convincing potential employers they’d be a good hire in a role too far removed from their ideal. Why? Too many sound like this…

Job seeker to a hiring manager: “Please hire me for this job.”

Hiring manager: “Really? Your skills aren’t what I’d call a fit. This is a long way from what you’ve done in the past.”

Job seeker: “I know, but I’ve been looking for the right opportunity for a long time. There’s just not much out there. I need to work. I need to pay my bills. The job duties are manageable. I’m willing to do this job.”

Though the above may be the honest truth, it’s hardly a flattering proposal. It ends up coming off somewhat like this…

Woman to a man on a date: “Let’s get married!”

Man: “Us? Now? Are you sure? I mean, we don’t have much in common.”

Woman: “I know, but I’ve been looking for the right man for some time and he’s just not out there. So I’m ready to move forward. I want to have kids. My clock is ticking. You’re nice enough. We like each other. What do you say?

Are you cringing like I am? Who wants to tie themselves to someone who gives the impression they are only interested in them because there aren’t better options available? Both situations satisfy an immediate need, but are likely destined for a relationship failure down the road.

I shared the above example because I hear the same word play out of the mouths of those I’ve worked with frequently. Why? Either the job seeker is truly applying to something he feels no passion towards or hasn’t bothered to consider how the job might excite and fulfill him. If it’s the first scenario, good luck turning that effort into a success story. More often than not, employers are going to sense your reservations and pick another candidate who seems more excited. Find and apply to opportunities you can show genuine interest in. If it’s the second scenario, a better outcome can be achieved by focusing exclusively on what ‘can be’ with this employer versus what ‘could have been’ with another. Doing so helps add sincerity and enthusiasm to the pitch.


Lisa joined the Michigan State University Alumni Association as Director of Alumni Career & Business Services on May 1, 2012. Her primary focus is to develop effective networking and resource channels for experienced alumni interested in professional development and job search strategy assistance. Additionally, Lisa works directly with corporate, education, foundation and government partners seeking to attract qualified talent, retain and develop good employees, and establish collaborative relationships in line with their established goals and objectives.

With 15+ years’ experience in third party recruiting, Lisa offers a balanced understanding of both employee and employer perspectives.

Lisa is a firm advocate of the networking process and considers it a vital element in a successful job search. In addition to helping job seekers develop and best utilize networking contacts, Lisa shares her knowledge and insight-gained aiding corporate recruiting efforts-to give Spartan job seekers an edge in terms of lead sourcing, resume presentation and interview strategy.

Among Lisa’s notable accomplishments: Prima Civitas Foundation Scholar; Michigan Works Association Volunteer of the Year; Pink Slip Mid Michigan Planning Committee; career content blogger.


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