Success is an Iceberg: Reveal What’s Below the Surface in Your Job Search

I was thinking about icebergs the other day. Perhaps because it was over 90º, I had just completed 20,000 steps and would have killed for an Italian ice (which would have defeated the purpose of walking those 20,000 steps.) Italian ice became snow cone, that became iceberg, that led to icebergs—what a great way to visualize a job search.

Here’s an iceberg fact to start out. Typically, only one-tenth of the volume of an iceberg is above water. The shape and size of the underwater portion, the most critical thing to know about an iceberg, can be difficult to judge by looking at the portion above the surface. Well, that pretty much describes a job search. Your accomplishments, what employers see through your resumé, LinkedIn profile page and other marketing tools and social media, is about one tenth of who you are. What they don’t see is the most important part; who you really are, your authentic self.

What’s below the surface?

Think about it. The 90% of the iceberg that is below the surface, the things an employer can’t see are why you’re hired. You’re not hired because of your resumé. You’re hired because you let an employer see your skills, will and fit.

In a successful job search:

  • You know what you’re good at, and what you’re not good at and how that fits with the position and within the organization.
  • You’re able to envision the needs of the organization and able to tailor your interview to speak directly to your value.
  • You prove that you bring energy, drive and curiosity, to everything you do.

Beautiful ice sculptures.

I get I’m carrying the iceberg analogy a bit far; one more point. A few years back my family took a cruise to Alaska. Lots of oohs and aahs when seeing glaciers for the first time.

Here’s another iceberg fact. As glaciers creep over land, meltwater fills the crevasses and later freezes. The combination of ice and air bubbles causes sunlight shining on the icebergs to refract, coloring the ice spectacular shades of blue, green, and white. Color may also indicate age; blue icebergs are old, and green ones contain algae and are young. Icebergs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some long and flat, others towering and massive. Really, they are beautiful and each unique.

The point is, in your job search let an employer see what has driven your success by being personable, sharing information about yourself and turning the interview into a conversation.

  • People hire people they like.
  • Give honest and sincere answers. It’s great you can find answers to interview questions but the responses are generic at best. Develop responses that show who you are.
  • Become genuinely interested in the interviewer, recruiter or hiring manager. Ask questions.

Iceberg Strong.

I can’t help myself. The last iceberg fact. Icebergs are about 10% as strong as concrete. This may not seem very hard, but it’s a lot harder than ice you make in your freezer. A ship (the employer) colliding with an iceberg (that’s you) almost certainly means disaster due to the enormous momentum involved and potentially massive contact region. The ice can literally generate hundreds of tons of force on a ship’s hull, causing it to buckle, dent, crumple, and even get you hired.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

By Jane Horowitz

Jane Horowitz is a career-launch coach and founder of More Than A Resumé. Jane has championed college students in their job searches from colleges and universities across the country, and with majors from engineering to fine arts, from computer design to banking. Jane has made a measurable and lasting difference in college students’ lives.