Job hunting tips learned from the Cambodian jungle
No one likes a bragger, but I just happened to write this while sitting by the pool at my Bungalow on the edge of the Cambodian jungle. It’s relevant, because today’s thoughts about job hunting come directly from the jungle – or more importantly, from one of the people I met there while we were hunting elephants together.
Now, before you get all worked up, we’re creative people, we shoot them with cameras, not guns. And with my deadline to submit this article looming, I was super grateful to stumble across some advice as I just happened to share my adventure with a former IBM Creative Director and now Amazon Senior UX Designer.
So even though it’s my job to share ideas with others, I’m never beyond learning myself, so when the subject of job hunting came up, I was all ears. As, by the way, were the elephants.
So here’s what I learned.
Over lunch, I listened to Paula speaking to someone else about job hunting, and one of her comments really stuck in my mind. “Quite often I see people throw every skill they have at someone and expect them to sort it out”. It’s an excellent observation. And one I quizzed her on later.
The bottom line is, your job isn’t to regurgitate every skill you’ve ever picked up, it’s to help a potential employer see how your skills fit with their requirements.
Do the heavy lifting for them. Make it easy for them to see how you’re the solution to their problem. Don’t make them work to make the connection. Hell, don’t even make them have to think twice. Make it a no-brainer.
We talked about this for a while and I thanked her for giving me the topic for my article when she very generously then gave me another piece of advice. I was tempted to save it for next time around, but what can I say, I’m in a caring and sharing mood so here it is:
Do something surprising. She told me how she once included a story about young and crazy drivers in the Arab Nations who somehow get their cars up on two wheels, and while continuing to drive on two wheels, change the other two – while continuing to drive at high speeds. She then used that in one of her own applications as one example of what she was able to do multitasking in her job.
Her goal, she said, was to stand out from the other applications and be remembered as “that person with the crazy story about the two wheel driving thing”. And hey, what is marketing – which is, as I’ve said many times, what a job application is – if not standing out and being remembered?
Of course, the trick is not to just tell a completely random story but to make it relevant somehow, but the point remains valid.
Be interesting. Be different. Be surprising. Be remembered.
So there ya go. Two lessons from the Cambodian jungle. Which, actually, brings me to my bonus lesson.
You never know who may have wisdom that’s of value to you.
You don’t have to be at a business networking event to share ideas, you could just as easily be on an elephant safari in Cambodia and get talking to people who can share valuable ideas with you. Or vice versa. Never stop being open to the opportunity to learn new stuff.