There is a lot of talk these days about how job seekers can “market themselves” and “build a personal brand” and, a phrase I often use, “communicate their value proposition.” All of this can sound intimidating when you’re faced with finding a job in a tough job market. Believe me I know – I’ve been there.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot after seeing a really great concert last week. The artist in question is a young Scottish singer-songwriter who is currently touring the US. His name is Paolo Nutini and his music is hard to describe because his latest album is an eclectic mix of reggae, bluegrass, acoustic folky stuff, a little bit of rock … And as a performer, he’s even harder to sum up. He’s not fashionably dressed. He’s a terrible dancer. He spends most of the show hunched over in an odd posture, and he rarely makes eye contact with the audience – in fact he spent most of his New York concert with his eyes closed. So weird is his performance style that one woman mistakenly thought he had been drinking. I overheard her telling her friend ‘I would have enjoyed it a lot better if he hadn’t been so drunk.’
And yet the show was magnetic! It was the most fun I’ve had at a concert in a long, long time. Why? I think it’s because the music and the performance was just absolutely 100% authentic. Paolo was completely in tune with his songs and he and his band exuded joy. That joy was magnified by an audience that felt the authenticity and returned it.
More and more I am working on capturing this spirit when working with my clients. When I first started resume writing, I did it like everyone else. I wrote resumes the way I saw everyone else do it. My resumes were good, but could have come from 10 other resume writing services. But now that’s not the case. Because instead of trying to squeeze my clients’ histories into a template, I am focusing on their individuality. On what makes them authentically different from everyone else. And, having identified their unique personal value, I’m structuring the resume to fully communicate it. It makes my job much more fun than it used to be, and results in resumes that can’t help but stand out from the rest.
If you’re currently looking for work, take a long look at your resume and cover letters and see if they capture what’s uniquely ‘you.’
And to get Monday morning started off the right way, here’s a shot of Paolo Nutini.