Magic to an Employer’s Ears.
One of the biggest fears that young people have about selling themselves to employers is the number of other candidates they’re going to be up against. What if you’re one of 50, one of hundreds; and you could be, couldn’t you? Especially when jobs are in such short supply. What are your chances, realistically?
That depends, but let’s begin by getting a HUGE misconception out of the way. However many candidates there are, they do not all start with an equal chance of landing the job. There are certain qualities that employers rate so highly that very few candidates are likely to possess them. As long as you’re among the ones who do, you don’t have nearly as much competition as you may think. There may be hundreds of applicants, but your real competition may come from no more than a handful of other candidates. There are certain qualities that are magic to an employer’s ears and which make you outstanding if you possess them. Today, we’re going to focus on one of them, the ability to be innovative.
I came across an amazing example of this only the other day, and it came from a teenage girl.
The news item was Corvid restrictions and the B.B.C. roving reporter was stopping members of the public in the street to ask their opinions on how coved was being handled. The teenage girl was one of the random people interviewed and she wasn’t given more than a few seconds to present her views. Here’s what she said.
“Instead of locking down people based on the rate of local infection rates where they happen to live, why don’t we just lockdown everyone over the age of 65, wherever they live, and leave the rest of us to return to normality which would allow the economy to recover?”
My wife, Jenny, was sitting next to me and both of us reacted the same way: “Yes, why don’t we do just that? Wow, what a suggestion.”
Sadly, very sadly, I haven’t come across any evidence that the girl’s idea has even been considered. Now I could be wrong about this and, if I am, it wouldn’t be the first time; but I have the feeling that even the girl herself wasn’t expecting anyone to take her idea seriously. I’d like to think she shared it with her M.P. but I doubt it. I’ve certainly written to mine about it. It seemed to me to be an idea that ought to be championed so I have! If you want a copy of what I wrote, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll forward it to you.
That girl’s idea was truly innovative. Here was a girl who wasn’t afraid to think outside the box. If fact, her thinking suggests that she didn’t recognise that a box exists at all!
Now imagine that I’m an employer (I used to be once), and I’m trying to fill a vacancy. I’m receiving countless applications. One of them is you and you are a person who thinks just like that girl does.
Let me tell you something. In my book, you would be the candidate that all the other candidates would have to beat. There might be other candidates who achieved better exam grades while they were at school, college, or university, but you would still be the candidate to beat.
So, if you’re an innovative thinker, make a note of your ideas. Be ready to share them when composing your C.V. or when preparing for an interview, especially if you had an innovative idea that actually worked! Even if it didn’t, it will make a good story and will demonstrate an ability to think laterally as well as a willingness to put your ideas to the test.
Watch out for next week’s blog which will talk about why innovative ideas are so often rejected and how to identify employers who rate innovative thinking as highly as they say they do.