Progeeks, HR, and Stepping Up

HR has been an obsession of mine lately.  I've met some brilliant people in HR.  I've seen some hideous examples of HR (and my friends and family and readers tell me many more).  HR is a big area of interest of course, since a lot of people want to find some work, and HR is often the gateway.

Now I've met some great HR people.  As I've noted before, I like to let them know how great they are as probably few people are.  But I've also seen some pretty mediocre HR performance, and some that's just plain bad (seriously, getting a 'no thanks' letter six months after I started a new job?)  The good HR people will take care of themselves, but the ones that aren't so good . . . well, we have to deal with them.

It's worse for us progeeks, I think.  We work in weird industries not everyone gets, we have unusual skills, we're certainly unusual people, and we have intimate knowledge few have.  Let's face it, it's hard to recruit people like us without being a bit like us.

Thus, I've come to a conclusion that we need to remember in our careers – sometimes we need to do HR's job for it.

No matter how good the HR department you're dealing with, how talented the recruiter, they may not have the knowledge you do, they may not "get you."  When you add less-competent HR departments, well . . .

Either way we know us.  We know our skills.  We know our industries.  We have to realize that we progeeks need to help HR out – and maybe everyone does these days.

We have to make sure we show off and discuss our skills, even if they don't always understand them.  We have to make sure they understand.

We have to explain our career history in a way that makes sense to people who aren't as acquainted with our industry and career.  We may have to explain elements of history we take for granted.

We have to write resumes and cover letters that can be understood by people who, well, aren't us.  We have to make them not just testaments or temptations, but tools.

We have to make the effort to communicate in ways others can other stand – and that help them understand us.

We have to go out of our way to offer information that helps make the case for hiring us – as opposed to waiting for people to ask.

The job search world is tough.  We Progeeks know our stuff – we have to step up and do HR's job for them.  Even when they are doing it, we can help them do it better.

Steven Savage