02-09-2020 12:00

Square peg round hole

You might know it. The memory that you used to play with it yourself or that you later, as a parent, let your child play with it. The block box with shapes. The red circle, yellow triangle, green square, etc. We teach our children that the green square belongs in the square box. Sometimes we let muddle on for a bit and if they do well we give an encouraging compliment. Well done!

When it comes to our career, we sometimes forget this early learned skill. Especially at the table of a desired future employer, trying to land that job. Green squared candidates desperately wanting to fit in a red circle-job. Motivational letters and resumes are translated from green to red, or at least dark pink. Existing, but less relevant, talents are weakened and what is less present is accentuated with beautiful sentences. Because it must and will fit!

And then? Imagine, they fall for it. They hire you. Or at least, that which you have made of yourself. That beautiful red, or dark pink, circle. Naturally, you eventually can’t keep it up. Slowly the green haze comes forward and before you know it your beautiful curves become a little square … The manager is dissatisfied. And you are disappointed, because your talents are not recognized and you feel that you are not in the right place. What now?

if you end up somewhere on the basis of an unrealistic sketch of yourself, chances are you will not fit

Maybe you’re going to look for a new job. Somewhere where your talents are valued and where you can make the most of your potential. This is only possible if you tell a clear story about who you are, what you want, what you bring and what an employer can expect from you. And maybe just as important, what you are not, do not want etc. Won’t you then shoot yourself in the foot? Could be. On the other hand, if you end up somewhere on the basis of an unrealistic sketch of yourself, chances are you will not fit … square peg, round hole.

My advice? Do not start the conversation with the sole intention to land the job. Enter the conversation to introduce yourself to the other person. Be honest and clear about what you are looking for and what not, what appeals to you and what not, what you can do and what you still have to learn. Even if that does not correspond 100% with what is asked for. Ask the other person about the company, what kind of people work there, what is their story? Of course you prepare yourself thoroughly for the conversation, but keep in mind that you are a green square, and not a red circle.