Saturday, 9 March 2013

What are we doing here?

Hello and thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you'll be glad you did.

So why am I (and you) here? (Reading this I mean, not generally - that's a whole other blog.)

Well, it started at work where, among other things, I look after the filtering of job applications whenever we're recruiting. And every time, I get really annoyed and start ranting at my long-suffering colleagues. Why? Because all the applications are the same. And they all make the same mistakes. And it means when a good application does actually arrive, it makes me stupidly happy. Which in turn makes me sad.


Knowing how to make your CV stand out from everyone else's should be common sense, but obviously it isn't - and I'm fairly sure I made some of these mistakes myself before I saw the process from the other side. So I thought I'd write the definitive rule book on what to do (and what NOT to do) to market yourself and be different - in a good way - and hopefully get hired as a result.

Then it occurred to me - this doesn't just apply to jobs. There are so many areas of life where we need to stand out in order to succeed. As any of my friends will tell you, this is not an area that I tend to excel in. In fact, if anything my special skill is blending in to the background. So as I go along, I'll be attempting to follow my own advice (something else I've never been great at) and would love to hear your tips, opinions and comments as well.

11 comments:

  1. Good luck with your blog. It sounds like an interesting topic, and a really good title.

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    1. Thanks Tom! Hopefully we'll all learn something along the way.

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  2. Having given this a bit of consideration, I don't know whether it's always a good thing to really stand out from the crowd. In my opinion, and experience, it seems that, if anyhing, you have to almost mimic those in power to progress and a lot of "leader" surround themselves with people who are similar to themselves in terms of style, attitudes and interests. Also, those who really stand out are often open to ridicule (Jordan/Katie Price, Rylan etc). So is the answer to have a USP that sets you slightly apart, but does not show you as a radical?

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    1. Absolutely - it's important to stand out in the right way, and for the right reasons. But I think it also depends on the end goal; you could argue that Katie Price and Rylan have got where they want to be, so maybe it's worked for them.

      I guess at the end of the day it's about knowing who your target market is and showing how you're more suited to their needs than anyone else, so in that sense it's important to stand out, even if you do that by blending in! If that makes sense...

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  3. I'm looking forward to reading your tips. Then I might apply these to my CV and apply at your company and see if I stand out :p

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    1. Sounds good Abby! Most of the tips are going to sound really obvious, and to be honest a lot of the time in order to stand out from other job applicants in the initial stages, you just need to do things right and not make any silly mistakes. It gets a bit more difficult after that!

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    2. Well I am looking forward to reading along and maybe learning a thing or two. :)

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  4. If you are looking at the business / strategy side of this, I read an awesome book recently which potentially can be quite relevant:
    http://www.amazon.com/Different-Escaping-Competitive-Youngme-Moon/dp/030746086X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1362887321&sr=1-1&keywords=different+youngme+moon

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    1. Thanks for the tip Oszkar, this sounds really interesting! I'll check it out.

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  5. I think it can work to combine two approaches whenever you need to market yourself. It is certainly important to assess the environment you're seeking to become part of and - to an extent - conform to its conventions (after all, we probably all want to feel accepted in a new group). But if you can also make a bit of an impact, in a positive way, then people are more likely to think about and remember you.

    Many years ago I went through one of those long, daunting application processes for a graduate job in a large company. One of the many stages was to stand up and do a 10 minute presentation on why you thought you had the "x-factor" they were looking for. I was one of the last to speak and I'm sure I didn't really make myself sound any more relevant for the company than anybody else, but I did something that none of the others did: I quoted Voltaire. Indeed, none of the others had quoted anybody. It must have been enough to stand out and make them remember me because I went through to the next round.

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    1. Great example Jeremy, thanks. Yes I'd agree with that - being memorable (for the right reasons) is the key.

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