A recruiter might wonder, “What makes you so special?” in a roundabout way as they scan over your CV. What has become more and more apparent during my career is that an outstanding CV doesn’t always equal an outstanding candidate. A highly educated person may not be so skilled at the art of conversation, and in a world where people buy from people, if you can’t ‘talk the talk’ the interviewer or potential client could respectively ‘walk’.
Personality counts for a lot these days, and more recently I’ve seen it outweigh education and in some cases, relevant experience. The phrase I’ve heard more than anything when recruiting is “I need to see myself working with this person every day”. Of course everyone would rather work with someone they like, but equally are they going to be competent?
Richard Branson and Steve Jobs are big players that have shaped the world and inspired many, both of whom leaving main stream education at the age of 16. It’s encouraging to see individuals who were clearly driven and passionate about their goals, and that principle can be applied in any context. Interestingly on a popular debate forum, the question was asked, “Do you need a degree to be successful?” to which the results showed 75% proclaiming that you don’t. Undoubtedly in more specific situations you would require that level of education to work in certain professions, and from a more general perspective it shows commitment, perseverance and achievement, so it could be what’s needed to get your foot in the door.
I would always advocate personal development in any sense and there are undeniably other ways to learn other than through a conventional path. With so much information available at our fingertips and numerous ways to make learning accessible during our working lives, you can always find a way to increase your knowledge and show dedication to your progression. Decide on a goal, outline how you’re going to get there, understand what skills and attributes you may need and then dedicate 30 minutes every day working towards it.
I think it’s fair to say that in today’s society, there isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ staffing solution, and that’s exactly what hiring managers are thinking when recruiting for new team members. It would seem they are looking to create more diversity and bring onboard different opinions and innovative ways of thinking. So something to reflect on could be our answer to the initial question you will be faced with, “what makes you so special?” What’s written on paper isn’t directly indicative of your characteristics or ambitions, so it’s about finding a way to ensure that comes through when given the opportunity. A driven personality will always find a way.
By Natasha Van Abbe
Consultant, VMA Group