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Get a Job – be bold!

by Rob Cross on March 24th, 2010

Hitting your Head Against a Brick Wall

I’ve recently read a lot of posts or comments by recent graduates who are looking for jobs. One thing that really surprised me was the number who have submitted over 100 applications to get no interviews - wow, 100 applications and no interview, something’s not working!

Based on the Pareto Principle (80% of your results, come from 20% of your effort) I have a very simple philosophy on life:

Never hit your head against the same brick wall, always take a step back and look for a door!

100+ applications with no response, sounds to me like hitting your head against the same brick wall – it’s time to do something different!

What can you do to be different – you have to be BOLD and stand out!

How can you be BOLD when applying for Jobs?

In my day job I manage a Graduate Programme for a multi-national company, so I get to see many applications and many CVs. In my out of hours life I also coach and help recent college graduates on how to get a job and how to succeed in their careers once they’ve landed that job. From these roles, I can honestly say that the most successful people are those who are bold. And, they are bold for two reasons:

1. Those who don’t ask, don’t get! The most successful Graduates I meet are the ones who aren’t waiting around for someone to hand them the perfect opportunity. They are getting out there, finding who the right people to talk to are and then engaging them proactively (not passively!). This means they are making contact with the right people, finding out as much as they can about the organisation they want to work for, and then doing everything they can to get noticed., is a great platform to help you find those right people!

2. Those who stand out, get noticed! The most successful Graduates I meet also know how to stand out and get noticed. Whether it be through their application, CV, cover letter or approach to contacting people, they know how to make themselves different, and more importantly, more attractive than their counterparts. A couple of examples of this are below:

Example 1: Recently I offered free books to the first 25 people who emailed me. Out of these two subject lines, which jumps out to you?

Subject: I admit, I want a free book!


Subject: Answer to Question

That’s right – the first one really made me want to take notice and read more. The second, was just the standard response to which I replied with a standard email!

Example 2: Recently I advertised a role to support me with marketing my book. Out of these two cover letters, which would you employ?

Dear Mr. Cross,

I am writing in reply to the advertisement on the UCL website for the Marketing and Events manger position.

I think I would be well suited to the position as I’m outgoing and quick-witted, so enjoy being highly involved in the student community and am attuned to its members’ needs and way of thinking. My sister has recently graduated from Bath, meaning I am also connected to the graduate community and sympathetic to their views.

I have always been creative and strive to take the initiative to make things happen. During my Young Enterprise course I created a brochure, stall and powerpoint presentation to market and display the services of our company, for which we received a special commendation. My Mother is a copywriter so I have experience of proof-reading written work and am also, through her, well connected with a Bristol-based publishing company. As it is a company my family is closely linked with, I have often been surrounded by talk of book launches and have attended several myself, giving me an inside knowledge of such events and associated marketing strategies. In the past I have selected images for the cover of a Bristol Youth guide which is published annually and sells very well, and have also done research for a Cornwall guidebook.

Attached is my CV, which offers further evidence of my achievements. If offered the job I would consistently work to the absolute best of my ability, with confidence and flair.

All the best,


Dear Sir/Madam

Re: Job as a part-time marketing and events manager

I would like to apply for the job of a part-time marketing and events manager in Central London. Please find attached a copy of my CV.

My previous part time jobs as a sales assistant give me experiences of a basic knowledge on marketing and promotion, as well as skills of dealing with customers. In addition, I have always been the event organizer on lots of things for examples course work meeting, parties, or travelling, and I am also pretty good at promoting ideas on group study and course work. At the same time, I am an enthusiastic worker, and enjoy working in a team. My student visa entitles me to work up to 20 hours per week (or longer during my school holidays), and I could start work immediately.

Hope to hear from you as soon as possible

Yours faithfully

Once again, the first application won as it made me feel like they knew me and what I was trying to achieve. And, they seemed like they were going to be an exciting person to work with.

So…standing out by being BOLD doesn’t mean doing anything eccentric or bizarre, but it does mean that you stand out from just the standard responses that everyone gives. Being BOLD also means that you show some of your personality – after all, that’s who we’re trying to recruit, a real person, the real you!

A Last Word…

As someone who recruits Graduates, I get to meet hundreds of different people and read thousands of different CVs. That’s why for you, if you’re serious about getting a job, don’t continue hitting your head against the same brick wall – focus on how you can make yourself stand out by being BOLD!

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