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Job Search Tip – Don’t Share Your Sob Story

February 18th, 2009 · 8 Comments

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images_sob_storyAs resume writing professionals, we hear everyone’s tale. It’s the nature of what we do. Everyone is unique and everyone is different and everyone has a reason why they need a new job now!

We are like doctors in that way. Everyone is a good person who deserves to be saved. We want to save everyone. And like good doctors, we do our best to help all our clients. We listen, and we do our best to help. That’s what makes our job rewarding.

So share your personal sob story of job search woe with us.


But keep it out of your job search and interview process.

Telling an interviewer about why you really, really need the job is job-search-death. We all think our personal cases and our personal stories are so much more important and valid than anyone else’s.

But especially in times like these, trust me, they’re not.

Don’t… in a resume… in an interview… in a discussion with your employer… burden them with the tale of your job search woe. Your story is not unique. You are not any better or worse off than all the other people applying for the position. You are not, for that matter, any better or worse off than any of the other job seekers in this job market.

Don’t go into…

  • How you need the job because of your credit card debt.
  • How you were wrongly terminated from your last job.
  • How your last boss was a tyrant.
  • How many interviews you’ve been on and how hard it has been to find a job.
  • How the bad economy has brought you here. Don’t you think that’s true for everyone?
  • All the reasons why this is below you; how, given other circumstances, you wouldn’t be in this position.
  • How your wife/mother/son has a disease and you need the money to pay the bills.

It’s not that your potential employer is inhuman… it’s just that every human being on the planet has very real, very valid and very humane reasons for needing employment and a solid income.

To assume you’re above and beyond this fact is silly, and it puts an emotional burden on the person you’re trying to convince to hire you.

Trust me, they’ve probably heard similar stories all day.

So, don’t give them a sob story on your job search. It just makes you part of the crowd, number one. And you want to stand out. Positivity and can-do attitudes stand out. Not Debbie Downers.

But also, number two, and most importantly… remember, you want to be offering to solve their problems… you don’t want to beg them to solve yours!

That’s the quickest way to get hired!

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Tags: Job Search

  • CK

    I agree with the fact that you are there to solve THEIR problems. And also remember that they called YOU in because THEY thought that YOU could help them solve THEIR problem!

    Another way to look at it is a “Return On Investment” (ROI). You are there to solve a problem, make them money, or save them money! They have no obligation to you other to pay you what they can get out of you. If yo can save them $1 million then they may think you are worth the pay of $100,000, etc. They pay you for what you are worth and not what you cost them!

  • Sam C.

    I totally agree – leave the sad tales for a friend and take the short amount of time you have to tell the interviewer why you are qualified. If all you do is tell sad tale they know that this is all that you will do on the job.
    Give them a reason to hire you. Show them a listing of all your validated work experience. You can easily create one on a new website called PersonaVita. Again, give them a reason to hire you.

  • gotlaidoff

    Great advice! I messed up at an interview once like this.

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  • Kath

    Just heard of the Delaware Job Hunters Education and Networking Event in Wilmington, DE on 5/6/09 at the Chase Center. It’s free!

  • UK job search

    Good advice!

    Don’t share your sob story. Share your sucess story instead!

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