Radical CV Idea!

Here’s a radical new idea (well it’s not a new idea really – even I have mentioned it before and it’s been the topic of at least 1 other job hunting book). It’s by Seth Godin – a marketing “Guru” who makes a living telling it like it is and looking ahead to see what’s next. In the article below he reveals 2 things.

  1. The radical idea – you’ll see what I mean.
  2. How it really works when you send out your ‘average’ CV (or resume as he calls it)

See what you think (I’ve included in brackets some clarifying comments):

[Warning!! This is NOT for you if you feel uncomfortable with anything new or unconventional. It’s not for everybody. To make it work WILL require a whole new way of thinking from most job hunters out there.

Why bother having a resume?

In the last few days, I’ve heard from top students at Cornell and other universities about my internship. (Mr Godin offers an internship – so people apply to him for the post.)

It must have been posted in some office or on a site, because each of the applications is just a resume (CV). No real cover letter, no attempt at self marketing. Sort of, “here are the facts about me, please put me in the pile.”

This is controversial, but here goes: I think if you’re remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular, you probably shouldn’t have a resume (CV) at all.

Not just for my little internship, but in general. Great people shouldn’t have a resume (CV).

Here’s why: A resume is an excuse to reject you. Once you send me your resume, I can say, “oh, they’re missing this or they’re missing that,” and boom, you’re out.

Having a resume begs for you to go into that big machine that looks for relevant keywords, and begs for you to get a job as a cog in a giant machine. Just more fodder for the corporate behemoth. That might be fine for average folks looking for an average job, but is that what you deserve?

If you don’t have a resume, what do you have?

  • How about three extraordinary letters of recommendation from people the employer knows or respects?
  • Or a sophisticated project they can see or touch?
  • Or a reputation that precedes you?
  • Or a blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow up?

Some say, “well, that’s fine, but I don’t have those.”

Yeah, that’s my point. If you don’t have those, why do you think you are remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular? It sounds to me like if you don’t have those, you’ve been brainwashed into acting like you’re sort of ordinary.

Great jobs, world class jobs, jobs people kill for… those jobs don’t get filled by people emailing in resumes. Ever.

Some of what you’ve just read will have surprised you. You may doubt it. Dismiss it. And that’s fine. If you’re happy being ‘fodder’ for the ‘corporate behemoth’. Some people love it. They love the processes, policies, procedures. They love convention and order. Predictability. Organisation.

But the truth is … the world doesn’t care. The corporation doesn’t care. Maybe years ago it used to (debatable). But now … your company may have Employee Wellness programmes, in-house Gyms, psychologists, hair dressers, creches, etc – but actually you’re on your own.

So … never give up control of YOU. Keep a record of your good work. Measure yourself. Learn how to sell your value, skills, knowledge (even though for now it appears you’re ‘safe’). Develop skills that solve difficult, real problems. Be a provider of solutions.

Get or keep interested in many things. Keep alive in yourself the idea that one day you will work for yourself, on your own terms and make a good living doing so. Keep looking for opportunities. Keep learning. Get used to danger. Take risks. Get used to the feeling. Know that staying in the ‘safety’ of a large corporation is frequently AS risky as going it alone.

Sorry – I got a little off the point here on my favorite topic – but the essence is: be aware that you’re a business. And you’re in a competitive world. Don’t take a back seat in your own business. Build something that’ll last. Be smart about it. Everyone’s got a CV. At least make sure yours sends out a strong, confident, focussed message (that’ll instantly put you ahead, believe me) – not just some boring list of your past ‘duties’ and ‘responsibilities’.