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Vulnerability research of the personal kind

In a world of ultra competitive, apparently transparent labor markets everyone needs to shine brighter than everyone else.

Shine! Stand out! Rise above! Be a ROCK STAR!

Anyone scrambling for any piece of this market knows that embellish-- I mean proper marketing of your skills is key.

Much like the whitened teeth and silicone implants of Hollywood starlets; trying to embody all of the requirements will leave your profile looking plasticky and ... off.

Sure you might get noticed and potentially picked up by HR machinery that responds to keywords, but if you don't have the experience, persona and know-how to back it up in the interview you will leave the interviewer with a bitter taste of betrayal.

How about a wholly different approach?

How about being more open, more vulnerable?

In a world where plastic dolls dominate the media a living, breathing, occasionally failing human being might just be the angle to set you apart. It comes with the added benefit of not having to cover your warts — well not too much at least, depending on how candid you are about your experiences.

Everyone always says in these "how to fix your CV" spiels that you need to show added value: how you reduced costs, brought new revenue, improved processes etc. Sure. CVs are to biographies what click-bait headlines are to news articles. Their whole point of existing is to get someone's attention and them wanting to know more.

Establish an alternate route to expose your less than shining side.

You told in your CV that you managed to improve the efficiency of your primary business tool by 20%. Great! Now explain all of the ways you failed at first. How each failure projected you forwards. Or backwards. Or sideways.

What about that time when the third version you pushed out on a Friday afternoon which by mistake made it to production instead of testing and then you had to face your team / manager / CEO the next Monday and explain why a lot of the clients were mad? But then you came up with read-only Fridays and no one ever again broke production over the weekend.

Rolling out an online presence in the 'blogosphere' - as we used to call it back in the 1800s - is so easy that it should be a crime to say you don't know how to!

But then comes the more difficult part - I know, I am still figuring it out. Pushing out authentic content. Any fool - me included - can push out content. But authentic, believable, personal content is another matter. Because one thing it entails is that everyone in the wide world can see it. And then they can come and tell you that you are wrong. It is scary. Especially pushing content on a platform where you know you are easily comparable to your peers, whose armor shines with the force of nine thousands suns and you are telling the world how much you still have to learn. Incomplete. Because that means lacking. Lacking is not something you want to be on the market.

That's as far as I have gotten. I haven't got the final piece of the puzzle. The only thing I know how to do is write about what I currently know and am experiencing. And right now with my writing I am going out on a limb, taking a leap of faith. I believe that vulnerability is key. It will hopefully disarm anyone of their defences so that we can have an actual conversation between humans. Not two pieces of the HR machinery. An honest discourse of what I bring to the table, but also what I am expecting and where I am headed.

This I think is also quite significant. Instead of twisting all my wants as if this job fulfills them all, it is better to be frank and tell that this is where I am aiming for and I believe that I can acquire these skills and expertise here while in the same time I am providing you with my wealth of previous experience, time, effort and focus. This can help the other side also refine the role to better suit your endeavors as it also means reaping the most out of your employment.

There is of course the chance that all of this might backfire. I don't have any guarantees. This just feels right for me. I am quite fatalistic in that sense. I strongly believe the right opportunity will present itself even if it is preceded by a string of good-looking wrong ones that might make you feel like you are missing out. But once that right one comes along and you get to have that human to human connection from the first interview onwards, the entire relationship is then based on mutual honesty and you can concentrate on giving it your best without having to think about being someone else — someone better.

Someone told me once that he gave his applicants some home assignments and requested that they track time spent on each task. With the assignments he gave also the warning: be honest with your time tracking and do not try to impress me — if you say something took you 15 minutes when in actuality it took you 45, I will expect you to do it in 15 if you get hired.

Be honest. Be vulnerable. Share yourself.



Further reading:

- Harvard Business Review: Tours of Duty: The New Employer-Employee Compact

- A List Apart: Writing is Thinking

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