Career Fit: Einstein would not be hired as a secretary

“I don’t understand why I’m not even getting interviews,”  Sue said. My credentials are far above what’s required.  Sue then went on to describe a half-dozen job postings where she seemingly she exceeded the criteria noted for the job.   She then broke down… ‘I’m smart….sorry to sound conceited… but I’m really smart and these people don’t think I’m good enough.”

I interjected: “would you have hired Einstein as your secretary at your last job?” Sue had been an executive in an insurance company.  Perhaps knowing there would be a surprise answer, she stayed silent as I continued.

Einstein was extraordinarily absent-minded.  Stories of his days at Princeton where he had to call his administrator to ask why he had walked home and would routinely forget where he wrote down complex equations are legends, perhaps urban legends, but nonetheless capture the fact that Einstein was not timely,  orderly, and organized.  He would have been a lousy secretary.  But you might think he’s so smart that he would figure out how to contribute beyond his role.    Not so fast.  It depends on the role.    Einstein’s musings about theoretical physics would do nothing for an insurance executive.

I then went through the job postings.   I showed her the mismatch between her resume and the criteria in terms of fit.   What you say you are good at has little bearing on the job description.

We then went about Career Counseling Connecticut’s process of resume/application match.  Sue understood the process and now feels highly confident about landing a job.