By Lisa Parker

Any guesses on my education background? By degree I am a Medical Technologist. That is a 4 year degree with a heavy emphasis on physics, chemistry, biology and math. Medical Technologists are the ones in the various hospital and research labs around the country running tests and digging for answers to medical mysteries. I worked in the microbiology lab of a large Detroit hospital after graduation. I was assigned to fun things like urine, stool, blood and CSF cultures. Probably didn’t see that coming, right?

Most assume I have a background in business or career counseling. I fell into the recruiting profession. It’s a long story I’ll save for another day. The short version is I failed to consider the lack of people involvement when picking my degree, ended up hating the solitude of the lab and, by a complete fluke, ended up working for a recruiting agency. Moving on…

If I’d had a crystal ball as a freshman in college, I may have picked an education path more in line with what I’ve ended up doing. Boy, what a mistake that would have been. You see, it’s the Medical Technologist in me that makes what I bring to the table different from some of my peers. When I got a specimen in the lab I knew I was getting it from someone who wasn’t well. Something was going on with the person and my ability to sniff out clues was crucial. Medical Technologists are hunters, of sorts. The assumption was always that something might be there and every effort must be made to find the hidden and not-so-hidden. Though many of the tests I ran produced normal results, I never let the stats sway my commitment to approach every specimen with my eyes, nose (don’t ask) and brain on full alert.

The habits gained from my dance with Medical Technology often have me approaching searches from the opposite direction of those I’m attempting to help. Many job seekers are convinced nothing is out there so they go through the motions with their search and end up with the negative result they expected. I, on the other hand, am trained to believe the potential for a positive result is everywhere. Because I’m focused on proving something exists and others are focused on confirming their belief something doesn’t, the information we collect is entirely different.

A short way to sum up this long point is that your eyes are inclined to believe your brain. If your brain says nothing is there, your eyes won’t see the obvious. Though it’s important in medical settings to prevent eyes from overlooking things, I promise it’s just as crucial in a job search.


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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