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Some Recent Advice from an Assistant Deputy Minister

Friday, January 11, 2013
Earlier this week I sat down with an Assistant Deputy Minister of a major Canadian Government Agency to discuss employment opportunities, career progression and where I saw myself in the near to long term. For the record it was more of an informal discussion than a job interview, but the ADM did give me some advice I thought was worth sharing.

Be specific

Near the end of the conversation the ADM said that I wasn't being specific enough with my ask (in my defence I wasn't going there with an ask in mind) and that whenever I was going to sit down with a Senior Official I should have a clear ask and a (two page max!) CV that points directly at it.

Despite my often over the top nature, I am still prone to deference to authority, especially in my first meeting with senior leaders. I like to lay back a bit and get a sense of where they are coming from and why they asked me to meet with them. I like to think I'm good on my feet and can draw quickly on the breadth of my experience to back up my statements on the fly. That said, I've always wondered what would happen as a not-yet-executive if I just drove hard to the hoop as the ADM suggested. It obviously wouldn't work in every situation but at the very least using a CV as a map that clearly demonstrates what makes you valuable to their organization is far better than one that summarizes your responsibilities.

Draw them a map

During the meeting I committed to a complete overhaul of my CV in an attempt to do just that. Here is my old resume (PDF) and here is the new one (RTF). I'd love to know what you think about the two. Please note that I haven't proofread the new CV yet as I only just completed it.

I'm also interested in your thoughts on how aggressive (or perhaps is it decisive?) you have been with senior management in "hire-me" types of situations?

Thanks for taking the time, and Happy (belated) New Year!

Originally published by Nick Charney at cpsrenewal.ca
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