By Lisa Parker

When I ask job seekers to give me an idea of what they want to do, what I often hear in return is…”well, I know what I don’t want.” Sound familiar?

I have good news for those who can identify with the above. If you know what you don’t want, you know more about what you do want than you are taking the time to consider. Change the way you talk and you’ll see what I mean.

“I don’t want to work in a non-profit,” becomes, “I want to work in a for-profit setting.”

“I don’t want a long commute,” becomes, “I want to work within 20 miles of Lansing.”

“I don’t want to work for less than $10 per hour,” becomes, “I want to work for $10 per hour or better.”

“I don’t want to be holed up in an office all day,” becomes, “I want to work in a setting where my time confined to an office is minimal.”

I’ve blogged about this before when discussing how to sound less negative when sharing your job search efforts with others. I’m restating the point today because a discussion over coffee reminded me how the same poor word choices end up leaving job seekers feeling boxed in and without options. Flipping the thought to a more open and positive direction keeps your focus where it should be, on where you wish to end up versus what you hope to avoid.


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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