We have Sister Jenna and Lynda Spiegel. Sister Jenna is a spiritual leader, author, and radio and TV personality. She’s worked with Oprah. Lynda Spiegel is a job search coach and resume writer. I’ve seen her work in many different journals. Her background in helping people find the right candidates and getting LinkedIn and resumes up to date to showcase some of the more important things that we need in the modern workforce.
Listen to the podcast here:
The Spiritual Global Movement For Women with Sister Jenna
I am here with Sister Dr. Jenna who is a spiritual leader, author, radio and TV personality, renowned speaker and Founder of the Meditation Museum. She served as a principal partner with the Oprah Winfrey Network and Values Partnerships on the Belief Team. She’s also a contributing author in the book Mr. President: Interfaith Perspectives On The Historic Presidency Of Barack H. Obama. Welcome, Sister Jenna.
Thank you. I’m happy to be here with you. The last time when we were together you were on my radio show, America Meditating. I got back from India and I had the fortune of coordinating a Global Summit on Science, Spirituality and Environment. We had 8,000 participants and 50 speakers including Marla Maples, Donald Trump’s second wife, Rolonda Watts who is a senior journalist, opera singer, Ivy Hilton, a host of many wonderful people that were there. To their surprise, there’s an enormous energy required to put on such a program of magnitude. I’ve realized that peace isn’t a sitting down thing but it’s a vibration that you bring into what you’re doing. That was a big turnaround point because oftentimes we think peace means you can sit and be quiet, but you can be doing things. When you’re happy inside and you’re not bothered by stuff, you are at peace.
You had an interesting quote when you interviewed me. When you’re mentioning all those people and all your connections of people that are trying to reach peace and everything you’re doing, it’s interesting to go back to find out how you got into this. I’d like to know more about your history. You were granted an honorary doctorate. You have this Doctor Sister title.
I respect that degree because I know that it’s acknowledging my commitment to the service of humanity for so many years. I’m honored and I respect St. Thomas Aquinas College in Upstate New York for offering that. My journey is unique. I come from an African-Jamaican mother and an Indian father from New Delhi. I was raised seeing his Hinduism, raised seeing her Roman Catholic culture and seeing how different they were but they were in love. They realized it wasn’t enough so I’ve seen them also separate. I also got a chance to witness firsthand that God’s an interpretation. If my dad can go to a temple and be happy and my mother can go to a church and find her solace, then there’s got to be something about this energy that is universal. When I was about sixteen, seventeen I was more driven towards entrepreneurship, business and making money. I used to believe that as a woman we shouldn’t be subjugated to not having an education, not having enough money. Whereby we’re stuck in a relationship we’re not happy with but because of economic reasons we stay there.
A lot of women end up being in that position. Somehow from a young age, I didn’t want to do that. From that age, I started a little company marketing souvenirs in the Caribbean. I went into the nightclub business and bought my first nightclub at 21 and I loved it. From having my luxury cars from a Mercedes, Jaguar, to a BMW and a condominium overlooking the Atlantic in Miami, Florida I’m riding high. I’ve got money coming. I’m making investments. I’m doing the best that I can to not spend more than I’m getting in. I kept thinking about the long-term. I want to retire early. I want to be able to have things easy and then I get the spiritual call at 24 or 25. I was like, “No, not now.” For those of us who felt like something opened up, you can’t tell your call, “Could you come back after I’ve got two kids and a Lamborghini?”
What was this calling? How did that come to you?
I don’t know if some folks are designed for it or if some folks are asking for it. I have no idea. It’s like a lottery ticket, you buy and you win. It’s something that wakes up your inner world, something within your being. You’re good at understanding finance and you’re good at talking to leaders in the financial world who have a handle on managing money and keeping it. There’s something that is awakened in their intellectual capacity to master that specific area. There are certain folks who somehow get an awakening at a spiritual level and then they start to see beyond the physical. What that means is they start to look more into the intentionality of their thoughts, words and choices. If the intentions are pure and benevolent, then you’d call it spiritual. If the intentions are selfish, self-focused and not for the benefit of others, then it would be more non-spiritual which means an energy that could be much higher than what it is.We need to respond to the times with a lot more maturity. Click To Tweet
Did you have a voice come to you? Was this in your mind, you think, “This is enough. I need to do something else?”
We all have these signals that we get as a thought. It’s not a voice but it’s a thought. That thought comes with an image, a story or a connection to a person which gives you a feeling. For me, the thought was connected to the energy of light. The energy of the light was giving me an experience of purity and peace. It was reminding me, “You have that in your personality.” When that thought connected to the light, it gave me that experience. It was an experience that I had not had this whole time. It woke me up and I went, “That’s different and powerful.” I had the fortune of having a lot of what we called yogis, which were meditators around me from a teenager because of my mother and my stepfather. It was comfortable for me to at least check in with them and say, “What do you say this means? What is this all about?”
You help people. You talk about women being stuck in a certain position and you lead this spiritual global movement for women. Can you tell us about Brahma Kumaris?
My spiritual great-great-grandfather, I say that spiritually because sometimes we have a soul link with individuals throughout time. It could be Buddha. It could be Mahatma Gandhi. It could be Donald Trump. It could be Barack. It doesn’t matter. You have a heart connection with someone and because of that heart connection, you’re inspired. My spiritual great-great-grandfather, Brahma Baba, had a download of the light I felt. He started to wake up. A few years later, he got another thought that this wasn’t his job. His job to transform humanity wasn’t his, but it was the job of women. In the ‘30s, in Pakistan before the separation of India and Pakistan, this man is having this thought that 51% of the world’s resource, which were women at that time, has been untapped and disempowered. He had a realization that it was his role that he was going to empower women by putting them in the forefront of leading the spiritual movement to empower humanity. That’s how it all started in the ‘30s.
Brahma Baba was his name. From eight young educated women, with one branch of consciousness which he started in 2018, there are 9,000 branches in 120 countries with a million volunteers. That’s a large multinational organization. Imagine the way that it runs and the way that the leadership has to be. We have to lead by a level of integrity and authenticity in order to maintain the purity that we have felt within our being and to inspire that with others. The role of women in this movement was important and it was timely. I’m seeing the result of it now. Many years later, I’m seeing it was important for that call to have happened in the ‘30s.
There are a lot of people who have done some amazing things to inspire women who haven’t had opportunities. I’ve had Roya Mahboob on my show, who was Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for one of the years of their magazine. She does a lot to educate women in Afghanistan who have not had access to the internet in the past and wanted to maybe get jobs through that training. I’ve created a program for her to teach those young women. There are many people who aren’t giving attention to certain areas. It’s nice to hear that you’re doing such a global movement. You’ve opened two Meditation Museums. What are those? Can you tell me a little about that?
We’ve often thought that in big cities, there should be a museum that can help us to go deeper and understand ourselves at a broader perspective, a broader level. We’ve got two Meditation Museums, one in Silver Spring and one in Virginia. We have images, artifacts and sculptures inside the museum that help visitors. When they look at that image, picture or story they start to contemplate more about their own lives and what they’re doing with it. Who they are, why are they here, who did they belong to and what’s their purpose? The whole museum has that energy the minute you walk and the minute you walk out. It’s not just a museum with images or artifacts and so on, but we also host 200 events per year. That speaks volumes in terms of the commitment of the staff, the quality of the work, but also the intentionality behind what we’re doing.
You get a lot of attention from big names. How did you become a principal partner with Oprah Winfrey Network? What is that background?
I usually do have a lot going on in my plate. I got a call from a friend of mine Reverend Wilkins from Agape in California, “Sister Jenna, I’m working on this project, the Values Partnership with Oprah Winfrey and I would like you to be one of our core thinking partners.” I was like, “I’ll think about it.” My executive assistant was in the office at the time of the call and she overheard the conversation. I looked at her and I go, “We can’t take on one more thing.” She said, “It’s Oprah Winfrey.” I’m like, “It might just be behind the scenes. I’m not going to be doing all of that.” She says, “We should do this.” It was because of her that I ended up saying yes. As a result of that, we worked and collaborated with Values Partnerships to help to amplify the story of O Network’s television series called Belief. As a result of that, Oprah invited us to her home. We went to a whole bunch of events at the UN. We’ve kept in touch. We’ve shared information here and there. Our connections and relationships with each other are based on trust and integrity. It can open up many opportunities for our life if we understand the importance of a successful life has to do with the way you nurture your relationships along the way.
I know Oprah has done a lot with spirituality, women empowerment and some of the stuff that you’ve talked about. There’s so much focus on women with the #MeToo Movement. Since you are a multi-racial woman raised in America, what advice would you give to women about what’s going on with all of that?
I would tell them to be honest with themselves and to truly begin to listen to their motive and their intentions to reprogram their interpretation of what a woman is, what she stands for, what her energy can do and why her energy is here on the planet and to not sell herself short anymore. Our great-great-grandmothers and our ancestors of before have been preparing us for this time. This is where, as women, we need to start to stand tall, stand strong and stand in our truth more than anything else to help other women up along the way. I always advise women to pay attention to these three Cs. Stop criticizing, complaining and comparing yourself along the way. When you do these three Cs, it disturbs your beauty, it disturbs your power and it disturbs your success. I highly recommend everyone to pay attention to those three Cs because being criticizing blemishes record. Complaining will drain your energy. Definitely comparing yourself with others makes you lose sight of who you’re supposed to be.
What I’ve seen lately are some women think that the #MeToo Movement has gone too far. I’ve heard women make comments that they’ve said too much, that they’re not taking it seriously or people are starting to react negatively about it. What would you say to those people who say that?
It’s such a weird time. I got some kickback of a comment I made about Sikhism on a platform. I’m partially Sikh so I can say what I want to say about my own culture. I thought that it was something inhuman, it wasn’t all tasteless. I’m mindful of the words that I choose to speak but it was a big issue for them. I stepped back for a little bit. The world is so sensitized and the world has reached a state that it is far removed from its original essence of who it is. Sometimes people are afraid to speak the truth that they feel at that moment. It doesn’t mean that will be the truth many years from now, it could change. Where I feel that people are talking about the women’s movement has gone too far, the #MeToo Movement has gone too far, I would say no. A lot of things have gone on for too long and it’s gone on too far.
As women, we’re also trying to figure out how we regain our sense of purpose and our power as souls in female bodies playing out these parts. Some are speaking it up too much or are perhaps using it for the wrong reasons. I don’t think it’s time for us to attack each other after all we’ve been through. It’s time for us to embrace each other and ask, “Do you think you need to go here with that anymore? Do you think that’s what we should be doing or what you need to be doing?” I do think that we need to respond to the times with a lot more maturity and wisdom knowing that we’ve been through a lot for thousands of years. It’s going to take us some time to figure out how a woman lives her life when her energy is completely balanced. She no longer feels like a third-party citizen, abused, left behind but that she’s valued for her presence and her contribution to humanity. It will take us some time, but we shouldn’t attack each other as we’re going through the process.The world is so far removed from its original essence of who it really is that some people are just afraid to speak the truth they feel. Click To Tweet
You used the word attack and there are a lot of attacks. There’s so much divide with the political system and people being on one side or the other if men and women. What advice would you give the country to heal? People are getting more distant in their ideals.
This is a time for us to become more conscious of what side of the spectrum we want to feed. Whether it’s the spectrum of lies and deceit, darkness, quick fixes and bullying or if we want to feed the side of integrity, truth, nobility and values. We’re all being offered an opportunity to determine where my spirit, where my personality, my values are invested, one. The second thing is I feel that the darkness of consciousness, the darkness of people’s personality is being tested. I feel there is a higher percentage of individuals who are living in a noble way, in a beautiful way. It’s quiet but it’s truthful and it’s unshakeable. I call that the lighted individuals. I would call them more enlightened, more positive, more upbeat, more optimistic and more ready to take on the world with a gentle storm. I would say that there must be a lot of individuals on the planet who are amplifying their personality to a level that they’re shining quite brightly. As a result, the negativity that is still prevailing in the consciousness of people is getting afraid. It’s fighting, it’s kicking and it’s bullying because it’s sensing it’s getting off of the stage of life.
I feel that we’re being given this chance. Choose what you want to feed that which cannot last long, which is the darkness of ignorance or that will be definitely the future which is enlightened beings, people with goodness. That’s what I call enlightened people. The times that we are in are a big wakeup call. I went through some rough patches at the beginning when I hated to hear men call a woman, “Nasty woman,” and I hated to see a woman on a platform that had experience not be recognized because her personality wasn’t charismatic. People put aside the fact that there was an experience there versus theater. We’re still growing. We’re still a young nation but it didn’t matter who that woman was. On a national and global platform, no man should call the woman names like that who has been through so much and has done so much. It didn’t matter who that woman was. It’s not acceptable language. You might have an idea of what I’m talking about but it’s everywhere. It’s not even what’s happening in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue but it’s everywhere. I have to tell all of your readers I love who is in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and also on Capitol Hill because I know that’s the only thing I must do in order for me to not be pulled into any negativity or darkness of consciousness.
Is that the message then on your CD that came out, The Inclusion Revolution: Together With Love?
Yes, because I went back to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Preamble and I pulled those words. I did a meditation on them. I’ve never been around a hip-hop artist. I mix with everyone, but I’ve never been around a hip-hop artist. I had reservations about that tribe. I said, “Let me find out what that’s about,” and I ended up meeting this wonderful young guy called JoRob. He’s a whiskey drinker, cigar smoker, holding his body parts in different areas and I thought, “Have you ever done a meditation CD?” He exclaimed, “Have you heard my music?” I said, “I know it says explicit and I haven’t chosen to listen. There’s something about you that I feel you can go there.” On about five or ten attempts, he tried to produce the music for the meditation CD. It wasn’t until about his eighth or ninth time that he synced into it and came up this beautiful beat. It’s now a CD that’s for Millennials especially, for people who are on the move and for people who like more of a moving meditation rather than a sitting down and doing nothing meditation.
You play some of those background music and different quotes and things on your show, America Meditating Radio podcast. How long have you been doing that?
I’ve been doing it for a few years. I first started because my mother was recovering from cancer and she has a beautiful voice. I felt like she was lying around in the house and I wanted her energy to be used. My staff looked up an online radio program and then we came across Blog Talk Radio and then we decided we would start for fifteen minutes and give it to her. She said, “No, Jen. Please start, I’m nervous.” I started it all first and she would come on for two or three minutes and read a poem. It kicked off so fast within two weeks that I couldn’t give it up and she wasn’t ready. We expanded it and went for 30 minutes to 45 minutes. A few years later, we’ve done over 1,300 shows in 90 countries. We’ve had a million archive listeners and we’re not doing any major promos because this is my part-time hobby. I’m enjoying it. For the last few years, I’ve sponsored a retreat for the guests on my radio show. I came back taking quite a number my guests to India and they all had a wonderful time.
Is it always in India or do you change your locations?
No, this was my first time doing it in India. I usually do it in Upstate New York at Peace Village Learning and Retreat Center. This is our first time and it was out of this world.
We’ve got them interested in the CD, in the radio podcast and your Meditation Museum. There are many things that you’re doing that are impressive and for good reason. Your message is empowering. A lot of people would like to know how they can find out more about what you’re doing if they want to follow you.
They can definitely go to AmericaMeditating.org for information on the work of the America Meditating podcast. If they happen to be in the nation’s capital or anywhere in the world, they can go to BrahmaKumaris.org to find out where one of our meditation branches might be located.
Thank you, Sister Jenna. This has been interesting and it’s always nice to chat with you. Thank you for being on the show.Be more conscious of what side of the spectrum you want to feed - the spectrum of lies and deceit or the one of integrity and values. Click To Tweet
Me too. I’m glad that we looked at the wealth of the spirit, which is another form of becoming a billionaire or millionaire. There are some people that have such a presence. They might not have it monetarily in their pockets but their presence speaks that in volumes. That helps us to also be better people and feel we have what it takes to make millions.
That’s a great place to end the show. I enjoyed our conversation.
Intensifying Your Value Proposition with Lynda Spiegel
I am here with Lynda Spiegel who is a job search coach and resume writer who extensively recruited, interviewed and hired thousands of talented professionals during her many years as an HR executive. She founded Rising Stars Resumes to leverage this background. She’s also a Wall Street Journal expert panelist. You’ve got a list of things that you’ve accomplished. Lynda welcome. Some of your articles have caught my attention and I know you have a lot of things that you touch on in your writing that I discuss on this show. Anything HR-related is interesting to me. I’ve taught so many HR courses and I’ve had thousands of my students who are always interested in finding ways to improve their resumes. A lot of people reading probably have even given personality assessments to people determining who to hire. With all the engagement issues that are out there with people not being engaged, I want to talk about what you think that people can do with their resumes. What are HR professionals looking for out there? What kinds of tips can we give people to stand out? Give some background about how you got into this position.
We can sum up what HR professionals are looking for in a resume in three simple words, your value proposition. I used to post a job and I’d get a gazillion resumes come in. If you have to search for what this person does and what this person’s potential value is to you, maybe if you’ve got tons of time you can do that. Nobody has tons of time. I want to see right at the very top are you the right person for this position? Are you one of several potentially right people for this position? If I don’t see that right up top, I’m not going to continue reading.
Is that the old objective line? We should repurpose it and call it value proposition? Is it different or is it similar?
It’s different. I don’t see the objective on resumes that often. When I do, they get a real scolding. Here’s the scolding. I’m going to say to you, “Why do I, the HR person or the hiring manager, want to hear what your objective is? Why don’t you care about my objective, which is to hire somebody who can do this job?” If you stop to think of it, your resume is your marketing tool. You’re marketing yourself and your skills. The first thing you have to do is think about what I need, I the employer, not what you need. Having said that, once I hire you or even interview you and get to know you, I care about what you want. You’re a fellow human being. When I’m looking through resumes, I don’t want to know what your objective is. Besides, I have never read an objective statement that was in any way different in anybody’s resumes. Everybody wants to work in a place where they can contribute their skills and grow.
Value proposition, I’ve worked with people who use that term almost every sentence sometimes. How do you clarify what you mean by value proposition? What are some examples of value proposition statement to put?
First, I apologize for using a hackneyed term. I used it because it’s something that is readily understood by professionals. We use it in sales and in marketing all the time. You’re marketing yourself when you’re looking for a new position. Your value proposition is you’re telling the person reading your resume, “This is who I am. I am a software developer. This is who I am and this is in a nutshell what I offer you. This is what I bring to the table.” That’s your value proposition.
Can you give me an example statement? What would your value proposition be if you were looking for a job, for example?
Mine would be, “I’m a global human resource executive who specializes in mergers and acquisitions,” and that would be my first line. I’d throw in some specifics about the different types of M&As that I’ve done. I would probably end with a humorous line that gives you some glimpse into my personality. That would all be done in five to seven lines at the top of the resume.
That goes above your work experience, where the old objective would go?
Correct. Let me tell you the basic flow that is useful and that I use in writing my clients’ resumes. There are variations depending on the person, but broadly speaking. After contact information comes the summary of qualifications, which is your value proposition. This is what you’re getting if you want to talk to me. It’s essential because remember, how do people view resumes anymore? They’re not opening up the mail and getting a piece of paper. They’re looking at it on their monitors. You want the sexy stuff, the compelling things about you to be at the very top of the page so it shows up on the monitor without the person needing to scroll down. What comes after that is selected accomplishments or notable achievements. That’s where I ask my clients to work with me to curate a list of five to eight very specific instances that demonstrate why this person is good at what they do. Instead of saying, “I’m a great collaborator,” you would give an instance where your collaboration skills were evident. If you want to say that, “You closed more businesses sales than anybody else,” you could say, “Exceeded quota by 250% for seven consecutive quarters.”
Do you do it in bulleted points?
Absolutely because even though in my former life I was a literature professor, nobody reads anymore. If you have dense text and paragraph, people just don’t read it and bullets are easily digestible. They are the sound bites of narrative writing.
If I’m not looking for a job but a lot of people want to grab my bio for LinkedIn and I know that’s where I get a lot of my guest bios for my show, it’s so much easier to me if they write in bio format even though they say on LinkedIn to write in the first person. A lot of times they say that and then other people say, “No, you’ve got to write in the third person,” and then I get confused. I like it best when it’s in the third person because I could copy-paste. I want a paragraph that sounds good when I introduce them. For somebody who wants to be interviewed and different things, it’s a little different what you put there, isn’t it?
For your purposes, I see your point. Minus in the first person and all you needed for me was my bio, which is the third person, which you had no trouble grabbing and reading. Here is why the first person is extremely important not only in the resume but especially in your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a social media site for professionals. Think social even though it’s professional. When somebody lands on your profile page, they should feel as if they’re getting to know you. They’re talking to you almost as if it was a phone interview and you don’t refer to yourself when you’re speaking to someone in the third person. I like to have a little science behind my theories. I reach out frequently to my large network of recruiters and HR people. If I shoot a direct message to 50 of them, I might get a pretty good response of eighteen to twenty, which is a big response. I always say to them, “What do you think about this thing I want to do with resumes and profiles?” When I broached the question back in 2015, “What do you think of the first person?” the results were amazing. Not one person said, “I liked it the old way with this embodied adjective.” Everyone said, “You’re talking about a human being, so shouldn’t a human being talk to you as if he or she were a human being?” Nobody said, “I don’t like it.”The wealth of the spirit is another form of becoming a millionaire. Click To Tweet
I understand what you’re saying and I’ve kept mine in the first person because that’s what I’ve heard too. I know that sometimes a lot of people want to change it to the third person. Do you think that you have too much room or just the right amount of room and all that in LinkedIn at that top bio thing? Should you use all of it?
I’ll tell you why you should. Let me tell you what the character limitations are. In your headline, you have 120 characters. In the summary section, you have 2,000 characters. You’re writing it for human eyes, but remember there’s an algorithm playing there. LinkedIn’s algorithm is extremely pointed toward or focused on primarily the headline and secondarily the summary. If you have keywords embedded in there and I don’t like stuffing keywords. I like them to occur organically. You will show up on search when someone is looking for someone like you. If someone was looking for an expert speaker and they put in words that you have in your LinkedIn profile, you would come up on the first page. You would undoubtedly be someone that a person would look for. It’s important to use all the real estate that LinkedIn has given you to your advantage.
When you look that people who have searched for you also searched for if you look along the side. Sometimes it’s creepy when you see people stalking people on LinkedIn as well as Facebook. Is it as reputable as you think?
I don’t think that’s what they’re referring to. It’s not people are also searching for, what it says is people also looked at similar people. That makes perfect sense to me as an HR person because if I was looking to hire a UI, UX designer for our mobile devices when I worked at a SaaS company. Back in 2012 or 2013, it was not easy to find UI, UX designers in New York City, which is where I lived and worked. They were a handful, now they’re ubiquitous. I could post a job but I didn’t have a plethora of resumes coming in so I started looking for passive candidates whom I could woo to our company. What did I do? I went into the search for on LinkedIn and I typed, “UI, UX designer NYC,” and then I got a page populated with the best results. If I started making a list of these people and looking at each of them, it would show up that I was looking at all those different profiles. I wasn’t looking at them to stalk. I was looking at them to try to find some people who might want to take this job at my company.
You bring up something important that came to mind when you’re talking about the different candidates. I’ve been hired to speak and other people I know are often hired to speak about soft skills and the importance of soft skills. How companies are firing people because they don’t have them. Is it important to mention soft skills and what we’re capable of doing? Do we focus on words like that? Would you bring up the elephant in the room? Say, “I don’t know as much about this, but I could be trained in anything. I come with the ability to interact well with others or whatever.” What do you think about that?
It has to be handled carefully. Any time you say something about yourself that’s soft skill-ish, that it runs the risk of being something anybody can say about themselves, “I’m hard working. I’m curious.” You can say it and where’s the evidence, which is the other reason I love those selected accomplishments that show without telling what those are. Going back to that, you said something about, “I may not have ever done this but I can learn.” Everybody’s going to say they’re a quick learner. Do you know anybody who says, “It’s going to take me six months to get up to speed on this?” I don’t know how much saying that resonates and this goes back to the notion of curiosity, which I know you found interesting. If you can somehow weave into your narration either in the summary of qualifications in your resume or certainly you have more space to do it on your LinkedIn profile, talk about your curiosity. Don’t just say, “I’m curious,” say, “My curiosity about science has led me to develop 25 patents.” There’s a way to say it without it being some gratuitous phrase-throwing. I totally agree with you more to the point that the topic that you speak on. I’m fascinated by that in the hiring process. Can we riff on that a little bit?
Are you talking about soft skills in general?
I’m talking about soft skills. I used to get into arguments with my hiring managers. They’ve come into my office, “Lynda, I need a tech person who does everything on this list or as many things on this list as you can find,” or, “Lynda, I need a legal assistant who can do X.” I say to them, “Why don’t you look at this person?” They say, “This person’s never done the things on my list,” and I say, “This person can clearly learn. How do I know this person can learn? Look what this person has done.” That comes up a lot with college graduates. If you just got out of college, you’re primed to be learning new things. I look for things in a resume that shows me that this person is curious, interested and have the ability to learn. I’ll give you a perfect anecdote about that.
Going back to 2007, I was asked by the head of the sales department to find him a Salesforce.com ninja. He wanted someone to manage the pipelines, Salesforce.com is a CRM. I said to him, “If I get you a ninja, it’s going to cost around $75,000 per year in salary.” He said, “I need one.” I said, “I’m thinking of a young man who graduated from a prestigious university here in New York City and whom I knew personally. He had majored in music and was floundering looking for a job. I want you to interview this person.” He said, “Are you crazy? This kid’s a music major. What does he know about Salesforce.com?” I said, “He was born in 1985. That means when he came out of the womb, he already knew how to use apps.” He said, “Don’t waste my time.” I said, “I can’t make you hire him but I am the Senior Vice President of Human Resources. I’m going to insist you interview him.” He said, “Okay,” and I got him other people who were $75,000 a year Salesforce ninjas.
Meanwhile, I gave this young man my password and I said, “Noodle around with this application and show up on Thursday at 3:00.” He got the job. Not only did he get the job, but he is now a certified Salesforce.com administrator at a company making a gazillion more than he did at that job. Why with all resistance from the hiring manager did he get hired? He was curious and he was interested and he said, “I’ve never seen this interesting application before, but once I started playing around with it, I could see that it could do all these things. It was easy to manipulate and I’m interested in how you would want me to use it.”
It also brings up the age factor. Young people, if it comes to tech jobs, naturally if you’re born past a certain date you have always had this. Does that eliminate a certain percentage of people? You have to be careful on your resume not to sound too old or they will stereotype you into, “You probably don’t know how to do this type of thing.” What advice would you give to people who are older?
I don’t think, and I say this to someone who’s 66, that because you’re older you necessarily lose your ability to think and learn and be curious. The owner of the 25 patents with whom I work is 63 years old and is the Applications Engineer at Xerox. I would say that he’s probably pretty tech savvy. The way to avoid age discrimination in cases like that simply demonstrates that you’re right on top of things. If you walk around like some people and say, “I don’t know how to use this. I can’t learn this technology,” then you’ve shot yourself in the foot. If you walk around saying, “That’s not the way we used to do it,” you’ve already counted yourself out. I’m continually fascinated by new things. When people in my office started using Slack to communicate instead of getting up off their chairs and going into another office, I didn’t say, “What’s wrong with getting up and going to talk to somebody?” I said, “Cool,” and I started using it. I don’t think it’s much of an issue. It’s more of a mindset.
It is interesting because I see all different levels of skills at all different ages. A lot of people tend to think that it’s all or nothing for different age groups. I agree with you, I’ve always been interested in technology. A lot of people in my generation aren’t. It’s an individual thing and I like to keep an open mind of the different skills that everybody is capable of. Do you even look at those skills though on LinkedIn that people recommend, say you’re great at this or that? That was hot for a little while there. You don’t see much of it anymore. Do you even look at that?
There’s so much great advice that you could offer people. I know you write some great pieces out there about all different areas in terms of resume creation and all the things we’ve talked about. A lot of people would probably like to follow your work. How could they find you? What links would you like to share?
This has been fascinating. It’s nice of you to be on the show. Thank you again.
Thank you so much for having me, Diane.
I’d like to thank Sister Jenna and Lynda for being on my show. You can learn more about the Curiosity Code book and assessment at CuriosityCode.com. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take the Lead Radio.
- Sister Jenna
- Meditation Museum
- Mr. President: Interfaith Perspectives On The Historic Presidency Of Barack H. Obama
- America Meditating
- Roya Mahboob – previous episode
- Oprah Winfrey Network
- Values Partnerships
- #MeToo Movement
- The Inclusion Revolution: Together With Love
- America Meditating Radio
- Lynda Spiegel
- Rising Stars Resumes
- Lynda Spiegel on LinkedIn
- @RisingStarRes on Twitter
About Sister Jenna
Sister Jenna is a spiritual leader, author, radio and TV personality, renowned speaker and founder of the Meditation Museum. She has served as a principal partner with the Oprah Winfrey Network and Values Partnerships on the Belief Team. She is also a contributing author in the book, Mr. President – Interfaith Perspectives on the Historic Presidency of Barack H. Obama
About Lynda Spiegel
Lynda Spiegel is a job search coach and resume writer who extensively recruited, interviewed and hired thousands of talented professionals during her 15+ years as a human resources executive. She founded Rising Star Resumes to leverage this background, which affords her a unique perspective on how recruiters and hiring managers view candidates. Lynda collaborates with clients to help them market the value proposition they represent to employers through networking skills, a keyword-rich resume, interviewing, job search and salary negotiation skills.