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Getting The Job; Getting The Job Done

Posted October 5, 2012 7:10 AM by Dylan Miyake

As regular readers of the website know, we posted a job yesterday.  And we're already getting a flood of great resumes coming in (thank you!)  But, there are a few things I've noticed.  Some of you aren't that good at reading.  Or spelling.  Or maybe you think that we're just going to pick the resumes at random from the top of the pile.  We're not.  We're really careful about who we hire, and why.  So, a few tips for you prospective job seekers (I think this applies anywhere, but especially here at Ascendant):

  1. Read the job posting!  We spent a lot of time writing a the job description (believe it or not), and we want you to read it.  The job is unique in what it offers and the kind of person that it takes to succeed in it.  You need to be technical, yet sociable.  Articulate and competent.  Speedy and savvy.  Fast and detail oriented.  You get it.
  2. Prove to us that you want the job in your cover letter.  We didn't pull any punches or try to make the job sound more glamorous than it is.  That's because the job involves a lot of hard, often unglamorous work.  But there's reward there:  Like in the Karate Kid (not my namesake, BTW), you start with Wax On, Wax Off.  Greatness follows.
  3. Demonstrate why you'd be a great candidate.  Yes, this is an entry level position.  So, if you're looking to be the next VP of EMEA, this is not the right job for you.  But even at entry level (I daresay especially at entry level), we have really, really high standards and are willing to comb the earth to find the right person.  Our last Associate hire was from Moldova.  So show us.
  4. Don't be afraid to be yourself.  We're a unique set of individuals here and we're looking to hire another unique individual.  So don't bother to apply if you're just going to use the boilerplate cover letter which mirrors your "accomplishments" in your resume.  Show us some flair.  Give yourself an opportunity to stand out.
  5. Show you want a challenge.  We hold ourselves to incredibly high standards, and when we meet them, we raise the bar.  That's how we've won work against organizations 10x our size at places like the World Bank and the Office of Management and Budget.  As we say in the job description, be ready for a challenge.  Show how you've challenged yourself (even if you failed) in your cover letter.
  6. Come ready to learn.  Yes, we know you were Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude at Northwestern.  Yes, we know you ran the debate club and were a varsity swimmer.  We read your resume.  But hey, you're in the real world now.  So tell us what you want to learn from us.  Where you want to be in 5 years.  How what we've done (and are doing) fit into your master plan.
  7. Show us that you're passionate about what we're doing.  We've got a lot of things going on here at Ascendant, and changing the world for the better is just one part of it.  Prove that you're passionate about the mission. (Just working in the field isn't enough.)  We get up early and stay up late to deliver excellence -- and that requires passion.  A lot of it.

So, In summary, the message is this:  Before you click the button to do the search and replace on your cover letter, take a moment to learn about us.  About what makes us tick.  About our personalities.  And see if it's a fit for you.  (It's not for everyone.)  If you want a challenge, thrive in ambiguity, can process like crazy, and turn on a dime, this might be a great for you.  And one thing we promise:  We'll give you the opportunity to succeed.  We can't afford not to.

We look forward to hearing from you.



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Excellent commentary here, Dylan. Interesting that we both reached the same level of frustration about job applicants at the same time, as indicated the latest issue of my newsletter [http://www.finman.com/archive/]. The problem has gotten worse during the past four years, at time when candidates for positions at Ascendant and with my clients should be stepping up and improving their games. Maybe people have been so beaten down by the failure of hiring companies to respond effectively that they figure it’s all just a crap shoot. Or perhaps it’s simply that they’ve been so indoctrinated in collaboration that they don’t understand the implications of competition in the job market.
# Posted By Brad Howe | 10/15/12 2:28 PM
Nice post.
# Posted By personality tests | 11/7/12 4:49 AM
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