The Duality of Challenge
It’s been 2 weeks since my last session with Zane and David. Though Zane and I have had some communication outside of our sessions, I still felt myself losing the habit of sitting down every week and going through my goals and what I want and how I’m getting there.
Today I sit down to apply to a startup job that I’ve had on my list for about a month and to look for other jobs where I think I can fit in.
But that’s just a cover page to the story.
By sitting down to do this, I’m employing all of the strategies in the process that I’ve learned from Zane and David:
- Aligning myself to what the position asks for by highlighting specific parts of what the job description asks for
- Using genuine, human language in my resume to underline the value behind what I accomplished
- Being specific about how I fit the role that I want, with my resume as well as the accompanying documents I choose to include in my Acadiate showcase
And while I’m employing these strategies, I’m keeping an open mind and remembering who I’m writing to. The person reading my resume wants to know more about why I do what I do and is focused on finding the most passionate, motivated, perfect fit for the role. I have to meet them halfway by putting myself out there to the best of my abilities.
Everything I’ve learned makes things easier, but there is still stress — there will always be stress.
I keep asking myself “am I doing this right?”
There is no one out there to reassure me. Even Zane and David, though they are available for support, are not the ones hiring — and therefore can’t say whether or not I’ll succeed.
This is a scary realization, but it’s also liberating. Knowing this means only I control what happens to me.
The duality of challenge is your response to it. When you’re met with challenge and all the anxiety that accompanies it, you can choose to panic or to move forward.
Answer that question yourself.
“Am I doing this right?”
Foster that voice inside your head that tells you you’re doing the right thing.
If you’re not, someone will point it out.
And you’ll fix it.
Change as a Constant
I was looking through an external hard drive a few days ago and saw some of my old resumes.
But that’s a good thing.
My grade 10 resume barely qualifies as a document at all. I had no focus — I just wanted a job. And my resume reflected that. I used drawn out, generalized phrases like “Motivated worker” — well, duh, who would hire an unmotivated worker? Furthermore, what motivates you? How can you say you’re motivated to do a job that you’ve never done before? Those are some questions I would ask a younger me.
In truth, I genuinely am a motivated worker — I try to do my best in any role and accept the situation at hand. But without a focus on a skill or industry, that’s bound to trap me in a place I don’t want to be in without any ability to move forward or up.
In the same sense, a resume that is never focused or reviewed traps you in a cycle of never getting interviewed or hired.
The cause is the same — a lack of focus. But focus is a tricky beast to wrangle — and it can have multiple heads.
I’ll give you an example.
When I started working with Zane and David in our weekly sessions, I knew I liked data and eventually wanted to get into AI. That was pretty unfocused. Through weeks of discussion, we eventually distilled my interest in data into being able to affect change in the world. I’m not sure what the best way to do this is, but I’ve always been impressed with those interactive web graphs that you can play around with. And knowing how to do that teaches you server-side programming and front-end creative development (both things I want to learn).
So I chose a branding statement for my resume: Data Artist — someone who affects change and action through beautiful, interactive visuals.
I would love to be a data artist. I would love to create amazing visuals on the web.
But right now I can’t 100% do that yet.
Don’t get me wrong — I am completely willing to work towards being a Data Artist on my own time, but… I need a job.
So I’ve expanded my focus to marketing positions that can let me work with data to reach my goal.
As of right now, my focus has 2 heads: one is capitalizing on my marketing and graphic design experience to land a marketing job and the other is my passion for data and letting my future employers know that I eventually want to work in a data role.
Thankfully startups are relaxed about those kinds of transitions.
So what does change have to do with this?
Change is always a constant and sometimes impossible to see until you realize you’re doing something completely different from what you wanted to do before.
To me, the challenge is to create meaningful change for myself in a direction I see potential in.
But I feel secure in my ability to do that.
My resume before working with Zane and David was a list of accomplishments slapped together in hopes that someone will give me a chance to do something vaguely like what I want. Now, my resume for any position is a focused document detailing exactly what I want from the position that I’m applying for and what qualifies me to make that bold statement.
Whether I’m applying for a marketing position or a data position, I’m confident in my ability to make myself stand out to a recruiter.
- Applying to jobs
- Keeping my own schedule (structure is important)
- Learning skills in data through personal projects
- Making time for startup networking events
- Being able to put all of my knowledge and experience towards my own success and the success of those around me.