By Lisa Parker

What are you trying to prove? Seriously, think about it. Are you trying to prove you’re smart? Experienced? Flexible? Well connected? Ethical? Motivated? Many times when job seekers present me with information about themselves and what they fit it feels superficial. There’s no depth to the details and assurances. I get a lot of pretty words and heart warming pledges, but what’s often missing is evidence to support the case they are making to employers on why they should be hired, evidence that would prove beyond a reasonable doubt they can deliver on their promises and good intentions.

In this day of empty words and half truths, compelling and tangible evidence sells. Evidence reassures. Every claim you are making to a company in terms of what you can deliver and how you function in the work environment should have some form of credible proof at the ready to back it up. Only evidence pertinent to what you are attempting to prove should be presented, however, or you muddy the waters. So again, what are you trying to prove to an employer? Trust me when I tell you the answer isn’t “nothing.” The goal should always be to provide evidence you are a fit for the demands of the job and the culture of the company, all of which require research to find out.

Once you’ve done your homework and know what you need to prove, it’s time to figure out what you have the evidence to prove. Anything valuable you come up with should be part of your sell. It should be front and center because evidence you have to ask for feels less credible than evidence readily shared. For the areas you find you can’t actually prove, it’s time to ask yourself if it’s a true capability or fit. If it is, make a strong verbal appeal and cross your fingers evidence won’t be needed. Then, make a point down the road to beef up evidence in that area for future opportunities. If it turns out you can’t prove a capability or fit because it doesn’t truly exist, walk away. Your wasting your time and the employer’s, in addition to setting yourself up for anger and disappointment when  an employer more comfortable hiring based on evidence rejects you.


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.


1 comment

  1. Lisa Hooper 15 October, 2013 at 21:46

    Be sincere. If you can fake that you have it made. 

    I love that quote.  Works every time.

    Lisa Hooper    “Its a regular holiday to them, all beer and skittles.”  – Tom Brown School Days,  By Charles Dickens  or was it Thomas Hughes?

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