One of my favourite programmes of all time, was the brilliant puppet inspired satirical show Spitting Image. During the time it was on air, it specialised in lampooning the rich and famous by exaggerating a particular physical feature or aspect of their personality. It was quite simply comedy gold. Indeed the image we have today of many politicians and celebrities of the time has been permanently shaped by their puppet alter egos’ none more so than then world snooker champion Steve Davis.
Steve Davis was and still is a snooker legend. For much of his professional career he was the undisputed world number one. He won virtually everything that the world of snooker had to offer. He was brilliant at his job, or to put it another way, if Steve had had been applying for a vacancy, then he would have been the best qualified job seeker that any employer could possibly have wished for. Yet rather curiously Steve had an image problem at the time. Rather than be adored by the sporting public, he was perceived to be a “winning machine” with little personality to back up his success, which of course in reality was simply not true. All of this made Steve Davis ideal material for the Spitting Image script writers, who as a consequence created a monotone puppet who was immediately nicknamed “interestin”, simply because was he so obviously wasn’t.
A similar problem to that faced by Steve Davis can be experienced by those seeking their first step on the career ladder or a change in career direction. They can find it difficult to portray themselves in a way that will enable employers to glimpse their full personality. As a result they may lose out to less talented applicants for a role. This is a real issue and one where the normal job application process used by an employer may not provide a solution.
The GSM careers and employability team believe the answer lies in a more complete use of the range of social media tools that now exist. Networking tools such as LinkedIn contain a wide range of fields which allow an individual to build a full picture of the skills and experiences they can bring to an employer. By joining groups and participating in discussions individuals can create evidence of knowledge and opinion which demonstrates a more complete picture than any short interview or application form can extract.
But why stop with LinkedIn? The fastest growing social media tool of all is Youtube, with an astonishing 1 billion unique views per month. For some jobseekers it has become the medium of creative choice when placing a CV online. If you doubt this run a search on “A dream job would be nice!” to view a creative online CV by Mark Leruste. It may not suit all tastes but one is left in little doubt that this is an extremely talented individual. Note how he concludes by inviting you to learn more by visiting his website. In the world of online CVs’ you can create a trail of evidence outlining your talents and personality. This is powerful stuff.
Compressing your skills and personality into an engaging cameo is not new. The idea of an “elevator pitch” has been around for a long time. An elevator pitch challenges an individual to successfully convey their message within the time it takes to complete a lift journey. A tough task when it comes to selling yourself …… but not an impossible one. Try it and you will find it focuses the mind wonderfully on what really matters and is relevant.
For Steve Davis the creation of his “interestin” puppet alter ego proved to be the solution to his problem, Steve himself enjoyed the joke and the public soon realised that they wanted to find out more about the “real” Steve Davis. Today he is has re-invented himself as a highly successful TV commentator and celebrity personality. Most recently this led to him to participate in I’m a celebrity get me out of here.
For those seeking work and finding it hard to communicate their true worth, it is an encouraging story and makes an important point. Namely we all have a story to tell and told in the right way it can be very interesting indeed.