I think your resume has a giant hole if there’s nothing “on the side.”
By on the side, I mean something related to the career field you did (created, hosted, learned, sponsored, managed) just because you wanted to — even though it wasn’t required. Something that shows you really love what you’re asking to get paid to do.
This is especially true for the creatives out there. There are lots of adequate writers, designers, and thinkers that need a job. But what smart employers are looking for is evidence of passion.
You can pick up additional management, organizational, and technical skills along the way. Anyone worth working for will take the time to teach you as you grow and learn to master your craft.
But nobody can teach you to love it. That’s what you’ve got to bring to the table. The trick is proving this in the application and interview process.
That’s where the on the side stuff comes in. It’s the volunteer design work you do for a favorite nonprofit. It’s the free editing you do for your local church’s newsletter. It’s the that e-book you published.
Do something great that’s somewhat related to the career path you’re pursuing. And do it because you love it. Be proud of it.
The neat side effect of this is that it’s a good personal test. If you wouldn’t do it for fun, why would you want to do it every day?
Do you have a favorite movie involving an unexpected plot twist? Maybe it’s just a scene. Something that made you explode with laughter, made you jump, thrilled you — made you think, I never saw that coming.
It broke your schema.
A schema, in psychological terms, is a structured cluster of pre-conceived ideas. From the depths of Wikipedia:
Schemata are an effective tool for understanding the world. Through the use of schemata, most everyday situations do not require effortful processing — automatic processing is all that is required. People can quickly organize new perceptions into schemata and act effectively without effort. For example, most people have a stairway schema and can apply it to climb staircases they’ve never seen before.
Great storytellers are fantastic at breaking your schemata. They lure you in, making you feel nice and comfortable. You’ve seen this before.
…and then something amazing happens. A twist. A surprise. A shock.
I hope your marketing, your resume, and your next book has a few of these sprinkled in. Otherwise, spend your time doing something else. Because, quite literally, we’ve already seen it before.
I like when people ask me what I do.
I start by telling them I’m a writer, and then they immediately ask what it is I write.
I say, “Well, I write for a small word of mouth marketing firm. I write for their blogs and newsletters.”
And if they’re still listening, I explain how we teach word of mouth marketing. I explain how above all, we believe in the good guys — the ones who see making people happy as the best way to make money. The ones who strive for remarkable. The ones who stand for something.
And usually someone will say something to the effect of, “Yeah, but does that really work?”
And then I smile and say, “Ever heard of Zappos?“
Anyone still there?
Sorry ’bout that. I didn’t expect a month-long absence from here.
It’s a goofy thing, but the longer you’re away from something like this, the easier it becomes to push it off further. The harder it can be to come back. It almost becomes initimidating. You start to feel like you need some grand re-entrance, something that makes folks say, “Wow, I knew he’d be back. Glad I stuck around!”
But, at the risk of hearing, “Holy shit, I waited for this?” I’m going to start small. Drip, drip, drip, again — with some good ol’ vintage Seth Godin on chili and the low and slow path to remarkable.
Well timed Blinn, much appreciated.
Check out this slideshow of Bob Dylan on creativity, writing and storytelling.
“The world don’t need any more songs. There’s enough songs. Unless someone’s gonna come along with a pure heart and has something to say. That’s a different story.”
“They say, ‘Dylan never talks.’ What the hell is there to say? That’s not the reason an artist is in front of people.”
I had been planning to write a post about Bill Simmons–ESPN’s “Sports Guy”–as one of my storytelling heroes for some time (and I will), but his latest ESPN column demands immediate linking as it had an awesome note on how the New York Giants’ head coach handles the “three types of players.”
Check it out:
Our friend Mike Lombardi did a tremendous job describing Tom Coughlin’s coaching style over at the National Football Post last week: “He is using a very simple leadership strategy called the ‘Law of Threes.’ On each team there are three types of players. The first are the ones who will do anything that is asked, willing to help the program. The second group are the undecided players, the players who are not sure what to do. And the third are the malcontents. These are the players who want to buck the system all the time and try to break down the team. As a leader, there is a tendency to try to win over the players in group three by trying to make them happy. But all that does is move the players from group two into group three, and cause you to start to lose the players in group one. What Coughlin has done is focus on group one. He pays no attention to group three and what has resulted is that Plaxico is on an island and no one wants to join him. The team is bigger than Plaxico.”
[Plaxico Burress is the Giants’ leading receiver who was suspended earlier this season for breaking team rules.]
With all the talk of Tribes lately, it seems like the “Law of Threes” applies to almost any organization. What do you think?
P.S. Check out the full article for Bill’s complete ranking of the NFL’s 32 teams, as well as why Showtime beats HBO and why you can never let your friends put down Kate Bosworth in your presence again.
Eric Welch has started a pretty interesting company. You go to his house, you cook up your own recipe for wine using grapes from around the world, allow it to ferment and then go pick it up.
In addition, he also hosts informative wine making sessions as well as special events allowing you to get a crew together to come over and make your own batch right there on the spot.
He also puts out a newsletter and has got himself some genuine permission marketing going on.
I know all this because I happened upon his business while touring his neighborhood for another event. He put out a sign in his front yard offering free wine samples and shared his company (and his Pinot Grigio) with all of us willing to take a minor detour.
The practical business ideas here are fairly obvious, but what I think I’m really trying to point out is that talking with people who are passionate about what they do never gets old.
If you’re in the Des Moines area and this sounds like something you’re into, check out Eric’s company at VinesToWinesDM.com.