Career Tips

Nix “Something” & “Anything”

By Lisa Parker

If I had the power stop those I work with from saying two words, the words would be “something” and “anything.” Why? Too often, when I ask people to describe what they are looking for, I get lines like this…

  • Something where I get to work with people.
  • Something stable.
  • Something where I can put my skills to use.
  • I’m pretty flexible, so just about anything.
  • Something in management.
  • Something entry level.
  • Something where I’m appreciated.

Gee, that helps. You’re groaning right along with me, right? “Something” and “anything” essentially tell me nothing. Is it any wonder those who are littering their networking contacts with a bunch of nothing get nothing in return?

What are you looking for? Seriously. What?! Paint a mental picture for others so they have something tangible to go by. Finding a job is important and requires you take care to describe what you are looking for in a meaningful way. So ditch the “something” and “anything” descriptors. Challenge yourself to be more specific. Your networking contacts will thank you for doing so and you’ll appreciate boost of momentum your search gains.


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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