What this CV tells us about modern-day marketing

(post from Andrew Thorp)

Picture the scene…a young man walks into the job centre to discuss his CV and how he might use it to find work as a web product manager. He explains he’s been doing some work on it and presents it to the advisor. It looks like an Amazon page. “What’s this?,” asks the advisor. “It’s my CV,” explains the man. “You can’t do that,” reasons the advisor. “It’s not the way you do a CV.”

But this is precisely what web-savvy Phillippe Dubost produced (above) when he was hunting for work in December last year. I’ve made up the exchange in the job centre, but you can imagine the reaction of someone who’s used to advising people to stick to the system.

As it turned out, Phillippe’s unconventional approach yielded extraordinary results. According to CNN (yes, his CV made the news!) his profile really got around when he posted it to a popular French blog. In no time at all, his CV was getting 200,000 hits a day with 27,000 Facebook ‘likes’. Not only that, but this level of interest has produced over 100 work-related offers from across Asia and Europe! No bad for someone who broke the rules of job search.

I think this says a lot about the way we need to market ourselves in the modern world. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a job seeker or business owner, traditional methods of marketing don’t work so well these days. Spreading something bland and unremarkable far and wide won’t do. It virtually guarantees invisibility!

Here’s my take on what Phillippe did and what it might mean to us as marketers:

“The times, they’ve a-changed”

We live in an inter-connected world now. It’s a totally new landscape but unfortunately traditional education and recruitment systems are still rooted in the past. Armed with a good idea (“I’ve got something you might need”) and the ability to communicate it well and widely (Dubost’s Amazon-style CV) the world is now your playground.

Why not cheat a little?

Dubost refused to colour within the lines. His inventiveness and courage in putting something different out there was rewarded. Most job search, outplacement and careers advice focuses on working the existing system a little better. But the odds are against you when so many people are doing the same thing.

Attracting the right opportunities

By challenging conventional recruitment channels, Dubost risked annoying people who insist on candidates following their system. But as he pointed out, “I  just thought that if a company thinks that this is fun, then that’s a company I would like to work for.” And this is the point – you don’t need to please everyone because you only need ONE job!

The Amazon-CV is a piece of ‘attraction marketing’. You put something distinctive and authentic out there, and it attracts the right people – the people who think like you do. My former employer David C M Carter (now a leading mentor and author) refers to this as a kind of frequency that you send out into the ether. Some people will tune into that frequency – it resonates with them – but it won’t unless it’s distinctive and personal. Otherwise it’s just ‘white noise’. At MojoLife we describe this as a form of authentic storytelling. It pulls the right people to you, whether you’re selling a product, service or your labour.

Providing Proof
When you hire Phillippe (or ‘add him to cart’) you know you’ll be hiring a creative person. He’s proved it by producing such an unusual CV. This is the power of personal branding – it provides the evidence that you’ve got certain skills and attributes that employers/clients would value. We’re delivering this very message to students at the University of Manchester on 13th Feb, that it’s important to produce some kind of ‘portfolio’ that demonstrates that you’ve got some of those non-cognitive skills like creativity, persuasiveness, opportunism and courage. You can do this by creating a YouTube channel, interviewing people, writing e-books, running events and leading change. 

I applaud Monsieur Dubost for his creative approach to job search. He’s created his own opportunities but he’s used the kind of tools that are available to all of us in this new inter-connected world. Some might say he took a risk, but I’m reminded of a line from Seth Godin in his wonderful book The Purple Cow – “Safe is the new risky!”

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About Mojo Your Business

Mojo Your Business is an innovative training & consultancy company based in Manchester, UK. We're passionate about helping businesses and individuals perform better through effective communication. We specialise in corporate storytelling and how it applies to internal and external communication (employee relations, employability skills, leadership, relationship building, sales, marketing and public relations). More at http://mojoyourbusiness.com/
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