Advice We Give, Not Take: Become an Ironman Job Seeker

Sep 7, 2012

How is a job search like an Ironman triathlon?

Bet you’ve never been asked that question before. How is it like a marathon? Sure. Now it seems we — OK, not we, but TheLadders — has kicked it up a few notches. It’s not enough anymore to liken a job search to a 26.2 mile run so grueling people die. A job search is a triathlon where before you do that little run, you do a 2.4 mile swim, and bike 112 miles.

What do you get at the end? Alex Douzet’s “Ironman’s Seven Rules of Job Searching.” Douzet, co-founder of TheLadders and its COO, just completed his first Ironman triathlon (you knew that was coming), and from his experience came up with his list, beginning with “Have a map.”

Along the way to Rule 7, Douzet says, “It’s 75% Physical and 75% Mental.” It’s that kind of thing that makes us glad we’re more the passive job seeker kinda guys.

Proven Ability; Transferable Skills

Still on the job search thing, Monster has come up with a handy translation for common resume phrases (of course, recruiters have their own code words, too). Just like when the real estate listing calls a tiny shack a “quaint cottage,” the translation for “transferable skills” is “I’m not qualified, but do me a favor.”

“Proven ability” is another resume favorite. As one of the HR people in Monster’s post observes, “The ability was proven by whom? How is the ability proven? How does this ability compare to those which are not proven?”

Extra credit to Monster for the proper usage of whom.

Walking The Dog

Still on the job search thing, Craigslist, which is where you find all sorts of oddities, has the “distinction” of publishing what may be the most, um, bizarre — not quite the word we were looking for, but it will do — job wanted ad.

Except for the remarkable number of expletives, it does pretty much what all the consultants here on ERE advise about writing job descriptions: It details the job to be done, uses clear language, provides salary information, offers the relevant skills, and attracts attention. The latter isn’t hard when your ad begins,


Are you at the office 23 hours a day in a coke-fueled effort to squeeze every last penny out of your 20s and 30s?

Our favorite line in the piece is this one: ” I went to Princeton University, I got a 1600 on my SATs, and now, for 15 bucks an hour, your precious little dog can be my f***ing master.”

Be Our Designer; We’ll Give You A Pony

Still on the job search thing, but from the other side now. There’s this help wanted ad on Wealthfront for a designer, that also hits most of the key points. We appreciated its unique honesty in declaring that, “We really care about design… But we suck at it.”

We might have expected something like this on Craigslist, but there it is, in all its glory, tucked away on an online financial investment site. If you didn’t know it was there, you might not find it. But a helpful PR firm sent us an email pitching the ad.

No wonder that first Ironman rule is to get a map.

And that pony thing in the headline there? Yep, there’s a pony in the ad.

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