Sharing My Personal “Near Gaffe/False Assumption Story” … Could This Be You?

March 31, 2010 | assumption,Career,career change,resume writing | Tags: , , | Written by: admin

The problem with limiting beliefs and false assumptions, of course, is that it’s pretty plausible you’re not aware of them. You think you are looking at facts.

False Assumptions vs. Limiting Beliefs

With the help of a coach or some insightful books, you can identify limiting beliefs. What tends to not be so easy is turning them around into an empowering belief.

Conversely; false assumptions are very easily corrected once identified. However, realizing you are holding on to a false notion is the harder part here. One way to get this clarity is through a conversation with someone who gives you information that makes you realize you didn’t have the facts before – whether you sought out the person’s perspective or stumbled upon it. Of course; always double check as your informant’s “facts” may be false assumptions as well.

Here’s my “near gaffe/false assumption story” from last week that I’d like to share with you…

This one could happen to any of us and possibly affect your job search or professional reputation depending on the way you handle it.

Here’s what happened: I was emailing with a professional coach about participating in his special project. I was referred to him so didn’t know him personally and neither did the person who referred me. As things moved along, the topic of agreements surfaced. At that point, I realized I wasn’t comfortable going forward as I didn’t know this person’s real name. In all his emails, he’d sign off with “Shadow! Nightwing.”

When I first saw this at the bottom of his emails, my reaction was: “Cute – another person giving himself a fantasy name. That seems to be quite the rage these days.” Then it bothered me. I wanted to know who I was dealing with and emailed him asking him about his true identity – nicely of course.

Here is an excerpt of what he wrote back to me:

“I do from time to time get people who think my hollywoodish Los Anglesish name is not “real”.
Your approach to that was the nicest one I’ve received yet. Thanks.
Shadow! Nightwing is my legal, tax paying, social securitying name.”

Turned out Shadow! is Native American. I hadn’t even considered this because I had seen a picture of him online in which he looked “very Caucasian” to me.

What an eye opener!

I’m glad I asked for clarification as we will now collaborate on some things.

I know of other people who did not want to get involved with his project based on the assumption he is going by a “fake name.”

However, what really caught my attention was Shadow! implying that he receives many reactions to his name just like mine, but not so nicely worded.

So how about you?

Have you made an assumption lately you thought you would’ve sworn you were right about? I thought I knew for sure that his name wasn’t real…

We all make false assumptions. I’m just as guilty of it as the next person.

So ask yourself: How did you go about the situation? How did you respond? Did you respond at all? How did you word it?

False Assumptions During Your Job Search

Of course, the job search process is a breeding ground for misinterpretations and false assumptions.

Did you submit your resume but haven’t heard back from the recruiter or company yet? For one week…two weeks? Never?

Most people at this state will think the company is not interested in them. However, there are too many reasons to mention in this article that I can think of that are typically behind a company or recruiter’s tardiness in responding. Or lack of a response altogether.

Yet the assumptions on the part of the candidate are made. Sometimes, candidates develop a real aversion to the recruiter or HR person or whomever they sent their info to. This can shine through in your interactions the next time you speak with that person, so you want to be aware of this and get a handle on it.

Of course it’s understandable to get anxious and even get your confidence shaken when you keep on sending out resumes and not hearing back.

But people: watch yourself!

At the basis of this problem is the job search “strategy” you’re using; simply responding to openings you find online as part of the masses is not a solid approach to your next position.

Either way, I know the job search can be a nail-biting experience. There is real danger of entering a downward spiral when things don’t go according to your expectations – never mind that those could be off from the get-go (i.e.: I’ll send out about 10 resumes total and land my next job within 2 months).

Try a Different Perspective

My point with all of this: Try to give people the benefit of the doubt and cut them some slack. Another very common reason you’re not hearing back from a recruiter or company is very simply that they’re buried in work and have no news for you at this moment. In an ideal world, they’d get back to you regardless, but it would almost take another full-time position to do that as that’s how many resumes these people receive. You only see yourself and your process, but what really goes on behind the scene is mind boggling.

I know of examples of job seekers who got “snippy” with recruiters or accused them of unlawful questioning. Not a good idea. You can always burn that bridge later if you know for SURE that you are right. But even then; much better to turn around and move on.

The Next Level: Myths

When false assumptions take place on a societal level, we’re dealing with myths. When it comes to the job search and resumes, the biggest one has to be the one-page resume myth. Many folks still believe that your resume can only be one page – no exceptions. If you believe this too; please allow me to be the one shattering this myth for you!

Back in the days, the one-page resume did have its hay day. And even though it’s true that resumes have gone shorter and crisper the past few years, they are by no means supposed to be just one page.

The right length you ask?

It depends. On how much relevant, marketable data you have that would warrant an additional page. In reality, it comes down to most people’s background requiring a 2-page resume. For some recent grads with very little experience a one-pager may suffice.

What are some stubborn myths you have observed in your line of work? Leave a comment so we can all share in each other’s wisdom, ok?

P.S.: If you want to see Shadow! Nightwing’s projects; check out and  He’s the Director of both.)


You may absolutely share this article with people you think may enjoy it. When doing so, please include the following message:

Ilona (“rhymes with Fiona”) Vanderwoude’s passion is helping modern-day “Renaissance Personalities” fit a million passions into one lifetime. And make a great living. As a Career Designer and a Master Resume Writer (1 of 28 worldwide), she combines career and life design with the tactical support to actually make it happen. Please visit to claim your free gifts!


  1. Great reminder of what we’ve all promised ourselves many times never to do again! thank you!

    Comment by katherine moody — March 31, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

  2. Right! : )

    Comment by Ilona Vanderwoude — April 1, 2010 @ 7:34 am

  3. Ilona:

    Another resume myth I find many job seekers have that can hurt their job search is “You only need to show 10 years of experience.” What is a guideline for a minimum has somehow morphed into an iron clad rule in some people’s minds. I recently reviewed a resume for a senior level project manager unhappy with the response level of his resume. When he showed me the experience level required for most of the positions he applied for (often up to 20 years), I remarked that a problem might be that he only documented 12 years on his resume. His response was he didn’t want to exceed the “standard 10 years.”

    Comment by Tom Dezell — April 1, 2010 @ 1:26 pm

  4. Hey Tom,

    Somehow I missed this comment from you! Sorry!

    True! That has happeend to many guidelines. People think it’s black and white and rules are created and applied all over the place. Reality is; the application of these guidelines depend on the situation and the person.

    Comment by Ilona — April 24, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

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