By Lisa Parker

Ready for an earth shattering discovery I’ve made? It struck me last night that the people I know who tend to struggle the most are those who seem to guess the most. Think about it.

Who does better in school, those who study and are prepared to answer the questions, or those who are picking ‘c’ because they’ve used ‘a’ and ‘b’ a lot already?

Who gets to an unfamiliar destination faster, those who use a map with a clear route or those who have a general idea of where they’re going and wing it?

Who does better investing in the stock market, those who research companies and business trends and pick stocks accordingly or those who pick stocks based on how good the company name sounds?

Who does better picking their NCAA Tournament bracket, those who follow the teams and painstakingly work through each pairing or those who sit down and whip out their choices based on who-knows-what in a matter of minutes? Never mind. Bad example.

The point I’m taking forever to get to today is that I can clearly see a difference in the outcome in a variety of situations for those who rely less on guessing. The same is true for job seekers. There are some who build obstacles into their searches by the number of guesses they count as valuable information. They guess on what companies want, why they weren’t chosen, what their own worth is, what jobs are out there, who is getting the jobs, etc. Guesses are necessary at times, but they shouldn’t dominate a person’s search.

When I think about it, the people I know who secured employment the fastest had the least amount of guess work involved in what they were doing. They were well informed and were great at recognizing when they were basing an opinion on a guess or on fact. From my personal observations, habitual guessers sometimes lose the ability to even notice when they are filling in the blanks with their imagination. Their own assumptions become reality. More often than not, the guesses inspire inaction versus action. They support the argument that things are hopeless; that the odds are against the person.

Stop guessing, folks. From where I sit guessing does little good. Challenge yourself at every step of your search to take an honest assessment of what you know and what you are guessing about. Ask questions. Do some research. Go for the real answers.


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.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Michigan State University.


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