One of my Favourite Things – and yes, it has a job hunting angle.

So yesterday I came across this quote:

“He who rejects change is the architect of decay.” – Harold Wilson

I, for one, reject change. It’s nice when things are comfy. Predictable. No stress that comes from not knowing – fur sure – “what the heck’s gonna happen now?!”

But as you also know, life has this way of jabbing one in the eye if there’s no forward movement.

So if you’re feeling a bit jaded or stale – perhaps in your job, or your job hunt – then here’s what you need to do. And as it happens it’s one of my favorite things to do.

Yes, so the idea is to get a brand new hard-cover exercise book (R8.99 at PnP) (can you hear it “crack” as you open it?) Then you carry it with you wherever you go. And you collect your thoughts.

  • If you’re job hunting, you collect ideas about what difference you make in your present/past company (with a view to transferring your findings to your CV.)
  • If you’re unhappy in your job you collect ideas on what you would really like to be doing, and some ideas of how you can get closer to doing that. Maybe take a course. Read a book.
  • If you’ve just come out of a job interview – you can jot down what you felt went well, and some ideas on what questions you battled with, and how you can improve.
  • While you’re traveling around, or surfing the ‘net, you can jot down the names of companies that look exciting to work for, and your ideas on how your skills could be valuable to them.

Here’s what I find with this exercise:

I always get excited by what I think of. I go to a coffee shop. I sit down. Sit back. Think of a topic. And within 20 minutes I always have a sense of possibility and a few practical ideas of how to move an idea forward. I love it.

And ideas occur to me all the time when I have my book close. It’s like a direct (wireless!) connection to my brain. And it pokes* my creative brain to come up with fresh ideas.

[* poke vb an action of tapping and/or softly jabbing another person using a finger, stick, or similar object to gain their attention, relieve boredom or just to be annoying.]

So although change is tough, and if we don’t do it we’re the “architects” of our own “decay”, it can be exciting. And this little exercise can help – inspiring us to do new things and come up with new ideas.

Pictures of my current black book below here (I have a pile of old ones on the shelf).

One of the many idea collectors.
One of the many idea collectors.
Mind map mayhem!
Mind map mayhem!
Zoe's been busy in my book!
Zoe's been busy here too!

A Telesales Story (I’m Not Proud of) With a Critical Job Search Lesson

Do you get telesales calls? I got one the other day, and they chose the wrong day.

Here’s what happened. I’m not proud.

[phone rings]

Me: Hello

Telesales Guy: I’m looking for Mr G le Roux

[Ok, like 3 seconds into the call and he’s already in trouble.]

Me: Yes (but in a tone that’s already showing impatience)

Telesales Guy: Good day Mr le Roux, how are you?

[That’s me, over the edge. Why, why, why do the sales people at CellC, Mastercard, etc who do this professionally, think that asking anyone how they are is going to go down well? Or is it just grumpy me?? ‘Cause when he’s calling me “Mister” (no-one does that usually) and when it’s followed up by “how are you?” it’s like a huge button gets switched off in me. I get irritable. Impatient. Impolite. Un-christian (I will try to improve.)]

Me: Look let’s just get to the point here, what do you want from me? Why do you ask how are you? Can’t you just get to the point? What are you selling?

Telesales Guy: Um, just a few minutes to introduce to you CellC’s offer – that you’ve been specially selected for – which features a free phone, 100 sms’s …

Me (interrupting): No thanks. I already have several contracts. Thanks anyway. (A bit of the christian in me is starting to feel bad at being rude, “he’s just doing his job” etc.)

Lesson 1

One has to do with the scripts Telesales people use. Do they really work? To me they just invite rejection. And I feel for the people who have to use them. I think it probably invites burn-out and high staff turnover.

Lesson 2

But the second is more important (to job hunters). It’s about how you present yourself in your CV and in interviews. Here’s the thing. What irritated me about the telesales call? It wasn’t the call. I can take a call. I can say no or yes. No problem so far.

Here’s what it was: they guy didn’t get to the point. He wanted to have an irrelevant, meaningless conversation first. My wife complains I don’t talk to her enough. And now I must talk to this guy?

I’m actually a willing consumer. A buyer. But I’m only interested in stuff that’s relevant to my life. Just like employers are only interested in things that are going to help them in some way.

And that’s the key. Relevance. So, in your job hunt are you:

Getting to the point – can you quickly and clearly convey what you want to say?

and …

Are you making a relevant offer – are you making the employer an offer – “I’ll give you this certain benefit/advantage/solution if you give me Rx per month.”

Here’s how the Telesales guy could have done better, I think, at least with me.

  1. Assumed it was Mr le Roux instead of having to first confirm (wasted time and flagged the call as a telesales call in my mind).
  2. Not asked “how are you?”
  3. He should immediately have made his offer:
  4. “Mr le Roux, I want to give you or someone in your family a free cell phone, 100 sms free, 100 free talk minutes on the cheapest contract possible. Should I keep talking?”

Much better. Dont’cha think?

It’s worth brainstorming a little around this point as it relates to your job hunt.

Are you getting to the point in your CV – or do you start out with all sorts of irrelevant details? Do you anywhere at all actually come out and say what you’re offering – in interviews, and in your CV and covering letter?

Need some help with this? Check this 5 point test/guideline out on this page: – it’s focussed on a CV but it applies to your entire ‘personal marketing’ or job hunting campaign too.

Hope this helps a little.

Leave your comments – see the “Leaver your comments” link at the top of this post just under the title.

Including Testimonial Extracts in Your CV – Why, How?

Your CV exists to influence. You may not like the concept of ‘selling’ yourself.

But actually if you do a good job of selling yourself, you’re helping everybody. You’re giving them what they need. Then the decision is theirs to buy or not. To hire or not. To call in you in for an interview or not.

Bury all your talent and expertise in 13 pages of detail – and all you’re doing is making things hard for the reader. And for yourself – you’re not doing yourself justice.

So here’s another tactic to ramp up the power of influence in your CV by maybe 10x. It’s a well known and well used tactic by the best advertisers. It’s the power of a testimonial. It’s someone who worked with you, or a Manager, or a Client, saying:

“Hey, Bob here was great, he really came through for us” or,

“John was outstanding in bringing in new business – in his first year with us he was 2nd on the list of Achievers of the Year” or,

“Angie really was a reliable, dedicated PA. With her in charge of the office I had nothing to worry about”, or

“Michael kept our accounts in outstanding shape. He frequently was commended by our Auditors for his attention to details and timeous submissions.”

Why would one want to hide that stuff away? It has strong power to ‘influence’ – to twist the arm of the employer, or to make you stand out in a sea of other applicants.

But how to include it? There are any number of ways.

  • You can inset a little text box in the CV with little quotes like the above.
  • You can add them in at the end of the CV.
  • You can include them as an ‘end off’ to each position listed on the CV.

When I write CVs – which I do a lot (see details of my service here) – I try to include these sort of extracts all the time. But I choose them carefully – with a strategic eye. They have to help you create the right impression.

WARNING! Sometimes a poorly chosen quote, although positive, may not be heavy-weight enough to position you correctly. Like using a quote that says you’re “reliable and steady” may not do the job for you when pitching for a high energy sales job.

If you’d like help with your CV, call me, mail me or go here for more info.


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