Odds are that the last time you switched jobs, you used a resume. Following conventional wisdom, you may have sent it to dozens or hundreds of employers, or posted it online.
Marketing guru Seth Godin writes in his book Purple Cow
that the above process is really nothing but a form of advertising.
The context is different than a company buying TV or online ads, but it’s still advertising: “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.”
But Godin suggests that there’s a more effective strategy: be remarkable.
Remarkable people switch jobs with far less effort, and often don’t even have a resume. Instead, they rely on others who know the quality of their work, and are quick to recommend them. Remarkable people are often recruited from jobs they love, to jobs they love even more.
As Godin points out, the secret doesn’t lie in the job-seeking technique – it’s about what these people do when they’re not looking for a job.
Remarkable people do outrageous work. They take on high-profile projects, and take risks. Sometimes those risks result in big failures. But those failures rarely lead to a dead end – instead, they increase the chances that these people will get an even better project next time.
If you want to be remarkable in your career, the time to do it is not when you’re looking for a job.
A standard resume is nothing but an opportunity for a prospective employer to turn you down. A handful of over-the-top references, on the other hand, begs for a meeting.
As Godin puts it: “In your career, even more than for a brand, being safe is risky. The path to lifetime job security is to be remarkable.”