If you or someone close to you is part of the 8.9% unemployed right now, then you know there is a plethora of career advice out there on how to write a cover letter, create a resume, and answer common interview questions, but if everyone is following the same advice, how can you ever expect to stand out? Over at Oktrends, they did a really interesting analysis of attraction, and it got me to thinking about how the same principles might apply to job searches.
What if instead of trying to project the version of yourself that you think perspective employers want to see, you downplay the usual qualities (team player!) and instead highlight what makes you quirky and perhaps just a little polarizing (disdain for hierarchy anyone?)? Sure you’re likely to limit your over all number of job prospects, but the ones remaining will probably be a much better reciprocal fit. Both the employer and employee benefit. With all that is the interwebs, there is no reason you should wait until the interview to tell employers about why you’d be great for their company.
Lot’s of people these days are concerned about privacy on the internet. While some of it is well founded (I don’t want just anyone knowing where I live and when I’m out of town), much concern is overstated. You can spend a bunch of time fine tuning your Facebook privacy setting and removing tracking cookies or you can embrace the new transparency and begin developing your personal brand online (not to mention enjoying a more personalized web experience). The notion isn’t really new. I stumbled across a 1997 Fast Company article in my Twitter feed the other day titled The Brand Called You advising readers on #personalbranding (of course, Twitter and the hash tag markup did not exist yet then).
I recently decided to take this tack myself. I set up an about.me page as a hub connecting my online presence across various platforms, including Quora. I formally articulated my mission, vision and values to help market myself as a free agent across said platforms, and I even had my own take on business cards printed up. Some companies are going to see this and decide to take a pass on me, and that is fine. With less time wasted pursuing poor fits, I can spend more time cultivating the ones that count. Sometimes the most important decisions we make are what opportunities to let pass us by. I have an expression for it – Varsity Blues.
The dream job offers haven’t started pouring in (yet), but I feel good about the quality of the connections I am beginning to make. And with my upcoming trip to Austin for the greatest music festival anywhere, who knows what may happen.