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Job Search Lessons I Learned on HGTV

Here’s the cold, hard truth: I am an addict, and HGTV is my drug. (That’s Home & Garden Television for the uninitiated). And my addiction is only partly attributable to the insanely good-looking Eric Stromer — more on him later.

I’m sharing my secret with you because the real estate principles they teach on HGTV are highly relevant to job seekers.

Take, for instance, my three favorite shows, Designed to Sell, Over Your Head, and House Hunters. Each show can teach us some great lessons that apply equally well whether you're selling your house or selling yourself.

DESIGNED TO SELL teaches house sellers how to rearrange, declutter, and spruce up their homes to make a strong first impression on buyers. The goal is to sell the house as quickly as possible, for the highest price possible.

> The Job Hunting Lesson: With only 15 seconds to entice its reader, your resume had better be "designed to sell" or YOU will be on the market longer and your bottom line will suffer. Neither house buyers nor hiring managers have the time or patience to overlook clutter or disorganization. Make sure your resume and cover letter are well organized, up to date, and error-free. Highlight your most valuable features, edit out the personal details, and make it EASY for employers to immediately see the benefits of hiring you.

HOUSE HUNTERS lets viewers witness the decision-making process as prospective home buyers choose one of three houses, each of which fits their geographic, budget, and size criteria.

> The Job Hunting Lesson: The job candidate who ultimately gets the offer is not necessarily the most qualified, the lowest-priced, or the most attractive. Many, many factors go into a home-buying — or hiring — decision, and each "buyer" has a unique set of priorities. A factor that's a deal-breaker for one may be irrelevant (or even desirable) to another. If you don’t get the job, chalk it up to some factor you couldn’t control, and know that your "buyer" is still out there, hunting for you!

OVER YOUR HEAD, hosted by the aforementioned Eric Stromer, focuses on homeowners who have attempted a do-it-yourself home renovation project, only to realize they’ve gotten in “over their heads” and can’t finish it themselves.

> The Job Hunting Lesson:  Sometimes you can have the right tools and the right motivation, but you still need the help of a professional to finish the job. When it comes to resume and cover letter writing, Pongo provides (what we think are) fantastic online tools for the do-it-yourself resume writer. But we also give you the option of turning the job over to a certified, professional resume writer if you find yourself in “over your head.”

So what do you think? Are the parallels between real estate and job hunting valid, or am I just looking for ways to rationalize my excessive HGTV-viewing by calling it "research"?

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