How "remarkable" are you?


Yes, this week I’m bringing your attention to another book which is not specifically about the job search.  This is Seth Godin’s Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, a book (which you could guess from the subtitle) about shifting the way business does business.  I have, as you know, made the case that a lot of what these books on marketing preach for companies can be as easily interpreted for things that the job seeker needs to do to maximize their attractiveness as a candidate.  In this case, Godin “does the heavy lifting” with this message for me, having included the following section towards the end of the book:

When The Cow Looks For A Job

So far, we’ve talked about what companies should do.  But what about you? Can you apply this thinking to your job search?

Odds are that the last time you switched jobs, you used a resume.  Following conventional wisdom, you may have sent it to hundreds or thousands of employers.  You may have posted it online or emailed it in an effort to “network” you way to a new job.

All of this effort is really nothing but advertising.  Advertising in a way that’s very different from buying TV ads, but also very similar.  After all, your resume is likely to land on the desk of someone with no interest whatsoever in you or what you’re up to.  Worse, it’s unlikely that this strategy will lead to much word of mouth.

There’s another way.  You’ve probably guessed it: Be exceptional.  Remarkable people with remarkable careers seem to switch jobs with far less effort.  Remarkable people often don’t even have a resume.  Instead, they rely on sneezers who are quick to recommend them when openings come up.  Remarkable people are often recruited from jobs they love to jobs they love even more.

In your career, even more than for a brand, being safe is risky.  The path to lifetime job security is to be remarkable.

In the above Godin refers to “sneezers”, these are the “key spreading agents of an ideavirus … these are the experts who tell all their colleagues or friends or admirers about a new product or service on which they are a perceived authority.”   In the job search, these are the people who know the people who know the people who make the hiring decisions, and if you become the “ideavirus” of who would be an ideal fit for a particular job in the eyes of the “sneezer”, you stand a very good chance of quickly finding yourself in an interview with the “right person”!

Much of Purple Cow is about finding the right “ideavirus” for the right niche market, where excitement of the “early adopters” (who tend to be where the “sneezers” can be found) will carry the message (“virally”, of course) beyond the small groups of innovators and into the main body of the market (in the case of your job search, the hiring managers).

Godin introduces a concept from Japanese culture here, called otaku which is at the heart of the “Purple Cow phenomenon”, this is the thing that drives people, be it a passion for hot sauce, or the need to have the latest smart phone.  It occurred to me that this is very much like “finding the pain points” for an organization, and if you can show potential “sneezers” that you might be in touch with their otaku you’ll seem “remarkable” and be top-of-mind when appropriate job slots come open.

Again, I’ve become quite a fan of Godin, and most of what he writes is dead-on for MY job search (being a Marketing/Communications guy), so “your mileage may vary”, but I quite enjoyed this book, and feel that wrapping your head around these concepts will give your job search an added push.  As always, more details are over in my review.

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