It's All Right to Regift Presents, But Not Your Talents

job interview We've all been through the drill after the holidays. All the presents are unwrapped, scrutinized, and then some are... returned. Or regifted. Certainly if a gift can find a better home, you should send it on to its rightful owner. The gift-giver took their best shot at predicting what you might like and missed. No harm, no foul. Although, if we don't like the gift, how likely is it that someone else will?

In the job search, you need to be careful about regifting yourself. This means to be selective about how you present yourself and to whom.

I recently had a friend ask me about an open position I was sourcing for a client company. She'd been told her department was being phased out, and she was actively searching for her next job. As much as I would have liked to submit her as a candidate, her background didn't provide quite the right fit. In our discussion she shared her experiences with me. There was definitely some overlap between her skill set and what the job required, but not an exact match, and she was definitely missing some key required skills. In essence, she was "regifting herself."

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My friend has many strong skills that are in demand in the current market, and I believe there will be opportunities for her in 2011. I told her she needs to take a careful inventory of her strengths, and search for positions that will leverage her background more efficiently. My hope is to be able to place her in the next three months.

One concern I'd have about taking the first job that looks remotely close to your skill set is that you might soon find a better job. Having a short-tenured job on your resume is often hard to explain to interviewers. They'll want to know why you're moving on so fast. And they might think you're likely to do it again after starting with them.

If you do find a job opening that's a close fit, but know you're not the perfect candidate, you do have another option. Explain to the hiring manager that although you're not a ideal fit for the opening, you wish to submit your resume in case they have any future postings that you'd be a better match for.

I have seen many who, in desperation, post to every job listing they find. I realize that in a tough economy, having patience during your job search can be difficult. However, if there is any chance of holding out a little longer for a good match, then consider doing so, so you won't have to "regift" yourself. Finding a good fit means that you can be the best present your future employer receives in the coming year.

Jeff Lipschultz

Jeff Lipschultz


Jeff Lipschultz is a founding partner of A-List Solutions, a premier recruiting firm in Dallas-Fort Worth. Jeff shares his views on employment trends and quirky observations of society at Jeff has worked in start-ups to Fortune 500 companies and has interviewed thousands of candidates. When not recruiting great talent or writing about the challenges of the candidate search process from all perspectives, you’ll find Jeff cycling around Texas or Colorado or wherever there’s a hill to climb.

In an effort to help job seekers, Jeff offers a concise, easy-to-read guide on interviewing through his company’s web site (

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