The Job Hunting Podcast

28. How perfectionism can hurt your career and what to do about it - with Author Lynne Cazaly

May 4, 2020

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From the moment I decided to start a podcast, Lynne Cazaly was on the top of my list of potential guests. There’s something about her leadership style, her unassuming way, the quiet confidence that she exudes, that makes her the perfect guest speaker. Last year, while trying to lock her in to record this episode, she was the hardest guest to pin down: she was in such high demand as a conference speaker, she was never in Melbourne long enough for us to get together. Now with COVID and quarantine, life has changed, we zoomed in, and finally we had our chat a few weeks ago.

Lynne’s training and speaking gigs have included working for the largest organisations in Australia, like Telstra, Australia Post, nab, CBA and the AFL. She travels regularly to New Zealand where she has a loyal following, and delivers training and keynotes. Lynne has also done keynotes, workshops, and training in Europe, USA and Asia.

Her latest book, ish: The Problem with our Pursuit for Perfection and the Life-Changing Practice of Good Enough, got a lot of media attention. Lynne was interviewed extensively on TV and magazines. The topic of perfectionism is one that everyone can relate, and for that reason I was able to see my friend in many morning TV shows over many weeks!

In this interview, we have pivoted the discussion about perfectionism to focus mostly on career planning, job hunting, and the selection and recruitment process. A “perfect” resume, a “perfect” match for the key selection criteria, giving the “perfect” answer to an interview question, “the perfect” job, being the “perfect” candidate” - these are sayings we through around all the time whilst job hunting. But they do impact on out mindset, and create an expectation that is unhealthy, unhelpful and not sustainable. I hope that after listening to this episode you will feel free from "perfectionism" and ready to embrace "good enough"! 

Interview time stamps

  • 5:08 - Lynne’s career progression, and her experience in the corporate sector of the need to be perfect
  • 8:55 - Difference between going for perfect, which is impossible, versus going for complete and accurate information, which is an achievable goal
  • 10:35 - Perfectionism, job hunting and how to improvise
  • 13:50 - How Lynne wrote the book using improv techniques and how this is a great example of how to treat your resume, and the concept of version control
  • 22:25 - How “Perfect” is still expected: by your, in the recruitment and selection world, and in the corporate world in general: Lynne’s tips to dealing with sectors and industries were perfectionism is expected. 3 main types of Perfectionism.
  • 26:30 - Me explaining the dissonance between the perfect picture put together by companies for job applicants when they go to market looking to hire, versus the candidate working solo trying to meet what is most times “over the top” expectations from recruiters and hiring managers.
  • 29:13 - The Parreto Principle: How job hunters can prepare themselves for the job market, and not worry about not being “perfect”
  • 31:57 - Why putting more effort into something can actually get you worst results and the idea of iterative improvement of resumes

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