The Trouble With “Recipes For Success”

I love to cook. The fact I’m now skilled enough I can actually turn out food friends and family enjoy eating is a bonus. That wasn’t always the case. When I didn’t know what I was doing I hated cooking…not to mention eating the end result. Practice and paying attention to what gifted cooks were doing different than me was a significant game changer. Once I solved the mystery of why two people could follow the exact same recipe, yet experience vastly different outcomes, I was able to make critical adjustments. You see, I was one of those who blamed the recipe when things didn’t turn out well. Little did I know…

So why do people get different results with the same set of instructions? It’s not always about the recipe or the taste preference of the end user. Many times it’s about differences in the way the recipe is carried out. For example, a person who uses spices from a rack they bought from Kohl’s for $9.99 four years ago will likely consider the dish they create more bland than the person who uses higher quality spices that are fresher and have been stored properly. Or, the person who buys a roast with little marbling will probably think their roast is dryer and less flavorful than the person capable of identifying an inferior piece of meat. There are also problems with people who don’t allow pans, pots and equipment to preheat sufficiently. Or who use pots and pans that don’t distribute heat evenly because they are warped or not made of a quality metal.

You see, when it comes to recipes all sorts of things can influence the outcome. That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the recipe. It means the cook has to be aware of the quality of ingredients and tools they are using and not assume simply following instructions to the letter is good enough.

I frequently hear job seekers judge various job search strategies as ineffective. “I tried that and it didn’t work.” Okay, but it worked for someone, often times many someones. Why? Some chalk it up to luck, but I find luck¬† has less to do with it than most think. There often is a clear reason when people take the time to dig deeper into what really went into a successful effort. Perhaps your situation is truly unique; the decision makers you are chasing are less receptive to certain approaches. What if the fact a recipe for success in a job search didn’t work for you had more to do with the way you carried it out? If it were me, I’d want to take a moment to find out. To me, when you have a formula that has worked for someone else, it makes more sense to try to figure out what you may have done differently than make the hasty decision to dismiss the idea as ineffective for your situation.

1 Comment

  • David Brooks says:

    Lisa I agree with having a recipe for success. For example, I never have put a whloe of stock into CraigsList (and I still don’t) and even though its been talked about several times at our networking groups as something to try; I just never thought that it could work. Yesterday I put up a posting under the resume heading. A very vague message with a breif discription of what I’m seeking and within 6 hours I received two request for my resume. The point here is not whether I get a job or not, its that I’ve found another way to get my name out to the job market and employers are using it. Also, to me the best part is that its a “blind” ad because no direct contact information is posted.

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