Addressing Concerns

The Temple of Zeus, where the Oracle of Delphi addressed the concerns of supplicants, visited in 2014

Having led 50 hiring efforts in my career, I am aware of concerns my resume might raise for some managers. The list is long only because I try to hit each concern I’ve heard from a manager or recruiter over the years that wasn’t job-specific:

  • Gig Work: I was a “gig worker” before the term was invented, happy to take any contract from two months to two years. However, I was with my first resume employer for more than six years. I just kept getting contracts.
  • Current Skills: My recent career emphasis has shifted toward coaching, but my coaching style requires hands-on, detailed involvement in program and project management on a daily basis. My practitioner skills are current.
  • Time since Last Position: Circumstances permit me to be picky about the jobs I consider; thus I ignore most opportunities I could get. In the interim, I did some researching and writing about topics related to my career, and currently am pursuing an online MBA. (I can go part-time if I take a job.) My interest in your position indicates I am especially motivated by it, not just desperate for any job.
  • Technical Knowledge: I realize some PMs that come from specific technical backgrounds have a hard time crossing technology lines. I believe my early technical writing career is the reason I have succeeded in a wide range of technical domains as a PM, because I can quickly learn the technology and jargon well enough that I do not slow down the team.
  • Flexibility: Some people think deep experience translates to inflexibility. You are hiring me for my expertise, so within that area, you will need solid evidence to change my mind—but that works! Otherwise I defer to the wisdom of the group and others’ areas of expertise. Also, my system is customized for each environment, and delegates most decision-making to the team(s).
  • Gaps: The two gaps of more than a year are explained by full-time periods as a consultant (see “TeamTrainers Consulting” on my profile)—otherwise run as a side business, because I learned from those attempts that I do not enjoy sales enough to be a sole practitioner.
  • Coaching Certification: Given the costs of various Agile, Scrum, or general “coach” certifications, I have chosen not to pay for one for three reasons:
    • My resume should make clear that coaching has been part of every job I held for 20 years, including a 14-year side job.
    • Coaching is a key subset of organizational change skills, for which I have a rigorous certification.
    • All Agile/Scrum coaching certifications relate to particular approaches I disagreed with enough to create my own scaled Agile system. The only person who can certify anyone in my system is me!

I do not apply to jobs unless they seem like an excellent fit based on the job description. If you still have doubts about an initial phone screen with me, I gently suggest you revise your job ad, because it may be leaving out requirements important to you.