Books by Adam, Excerpts, The 13 Ways, The 13 Ways You're F*cking Up Your Job Search


Want a preview of what you’re in for with THE 10 13 WAYS YOU’RE F*CKING UP YOUR JOB SEARCH? Read on for an excerpt from one of my favorite anecdotes in the book. If you never thought anyone in their life would relate stories about alpaca shit to their–and your–career?

You were wrong.


In this case the value isn’t in unrelated experience, but in an unrelated industry that still imparted skills they can adapt into a completely new role.

Now, for contrast:

A business analyst I worked with at my very first job was trying to launch a side business as an alpaca farmer, and he would not fucking shut up about the alpacas.

Day in, day out. Alpacas, alpaca wool, alpaca feed, uses for alpaca shit. His skills as a business analyst were helping him with his grand dream of alpaca farming, but his alpaca farming was significantly impacting my productivity when for some reason he’d latched on to me as someone who would be receptive to bouncing ideas around with him and possibly contributing to the project.

I was in my early twenties and not very good at knowing the proper corporate way to say “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a shit.”

So I smiled thinly, endured, and prayed he would find someone else to bother soon.

He never really got his alpaca farm off the ground. I think he long-distance adopted some alpacas, or something like that. But after I’d been there for about six months, he went in for an internal promotion to Senior Business Analyst and Project Manager. My cubicle wasn’t far from the office where one of the Directors was interviewing him regarding the possibility. I got to overhear him talking about how knowing how to turn alpaca shit into a sustainable source of recyclable paper was a good reason to promote him.

Look. There’s an entire charity that helps reduce carbon footprint from deforestation by making lovely little notebooks from recycled elephant shit. I will never own one, but I think it’s an admirable pursuit.

I’m still not going to promote some doucheknuckle into a senior role over complex IT project management and business analysis because he knows a thing or two about sustainable shit farming.

If he’d actually worked in anything to do with process, strategy, sourcing, and sustainability it might have been a valid case for unique value-added skills. But he didn’t, so his anecdotes had no value and were, quite literally, full of shit.

No one wants to waste minutes of their life they can never get back reading about experience that has zero transferable value toward the job you’re applying for, no matter how off-the-wall or supposedly character-building it is. It’s just lost time, lost energy, lost focus, and it undercuts the case for your qualifications. If you do include experience outside your primary domain, you must write it in a way that conveys its value to your target job. Highlight only the skills that give you an advantage, and trim or delete the rest.

I am here for neither you nor your alpaca shit, and I don’t have time to waste on incidentals.

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