Elements that get you the job: Honesty, Uniqueness...and a Lot of You!

As a Recruiter, I am involved with many people getting new job offers and making career changes.  In fact, I spend most of my time preparing candidates for new opportunities and working with hiring authorities.  I make sure that they hire the ‘right’ person for their positions, and at the same time, advising the ‘right’ person on the impact that the opportunity will have on their career.  I am on the front-line of the hiring war, aiding and coaching where needed to insure that everyone is satisfied in the end.  This is a very unique position that allows me to see trends that are occurring in the job market and occasionally see rare success stories that stand out and make an impression.  I would like to relate one such story.

A talented person I know completed their BS degree and had been working for several months with a respected company.  The company originally hired this individual for a support, administration role and promised advancement.  Unfortunately, as with most companies in this economy, there were no advancement opportunities available, and would not be for quite a while.  Rather than wait for the market to turn around and an opportunity to come knocking, this individual decided to get proactive.  There was another company in the area that was highly regarded as a leader in their field.  They didn’t necessarily have any openings for the type of position this individual was looking for, but that didn’t stop them from trying.

One, unassuming, Monday morning, a rather large package arrived at the desk of the secretary to the President of the company.  Not recognizing the sender’s name, the secretary opened the package, as was her custom when something arrived for the President.  What she found was rather strange, and immediately caused her to walk into the President’s office to show him what had arrived.  As she walked towards the President’s desk, she lifted a brightly colored mannequin arm with the company’s logo painted near the shoulder.  Written down the arm was a short sentence painted upon it.  It said, “I would give my right arm to work with you and your company.”  Tied around the forearm with colored ribbon was a neatly rolled resume on high quality paper.  The gesture made such a positive impact on the President that he immediately told the secretary to hire whoever sent the arm and resume.  He was so impressed that he didn’t even want to look at the resume.  The individual has been working there for several months now and the story has become a small legend within the company.  In fact, the President had the mannequin arm set in a clear, glass case and placed in the lobby of the office building.  Making an impact can have a profound outcome on your life and career.  Be unique and don’t be afraid.

Another story that highlights this lesson recently caught my attention from Yahoo Finance.  The title of the article is, “Kid Sends Perfectly Blunt Cover Letter for Wall Street Internship, and Now Tons of People Are Trying to Hire Him.” In the cover letter, the kid made a profound impact by being honest and open.  In one paragraph he states, “I won’t waste your time inflating my credentials, throwing around exaggerated job titles, or feeding you a line of crap about how my past experiences and skill sets align perfectly for an investment banking internship.  The truth is, I have no unbelievably special skill sets or genius eccentricities, but I do have a near perfect GPA and will work hard for you.”  While unique by itself, what happened in the comment section of the article was astounding.  Industry professionals and hiring authorities started to remark on how unique and exceptional this cover letter was and began to call him for interviews.  It is unclear as to whether or not he got a job from it, but it certainly made a positive impact on many people in the industry.

True, life examples like this captivate the imagination and act as a beacon in the night for all of those trying to gain employment or advance their career.  Why settle for good, when you can break the mold and do something unexpected and great?  I can tell you this as an experienced recruiter; people hire people first and skill sets second.  Make a positive impact with your personality, set yourself apart by being uniquely you, and you will see doors open and things change.  As one great Jedi said in a galaxy far, far away, “Do or do not…there is no try.”  Be great!