Author and marketing guru Seth Godin writes in his book The Purple Cow
that to stand out in the job market, what you do when you’re not
looking for a job is more important than any job-seeking technique.
The key to securing a remarkable job and career is to make yourself remarkable: exceptional, worth noticing and talking about.
For Godin, remarkable people are those who do “outrageous” work: they take on risky, high-profile projects that sometimes end in big failures. But those failures rarely lead to a dead end – instead, they increase the chances that their next project will be even better.
The result is that these people switch jobs with much less effort, and they’re often recruited from jobs they love to jobs they love even more. They usually don’t need a resume because their references and reputation speak for them. Plus, they know that a “standard resume is nothing but an opportunity for a prospective employer to turn you down.”
You can think of applying to jobs as a form of advertising, similar in some respects to buying TV ads.
And in an increasingly competitive job market, the strategy of simply sending your resume to dozens or hundreds of prospective employers, or posting it to an online database with millions of others, is rarely effective: “your resume is likely to land on the desk of someone with no interest whatsoever in you or what you’re up to.”
If being remarkable seems too difficult or risky, it may be because you’re looking at risk through the wrong lens.
As Godin puts it, in your career, being safe is what’s risky: “The path to lifetime job security is to be remarkable.”