When you have time to ponder…
Today begins like any other day: I wake up, shower, brush my teeth and put on a fresh set of clothes and am ready for the day ahead. But, today isn’t like any other day. The routine of going to work which I have become so accustomed to has disappeared. Who’d knew, age 34 years, I will find myself to be unemployed, not by choice, for the first time since graduating university. Not bad after a career spanning three continents, four countries and five cities. I’ve been lucky. I’ve had a good run.
Three weeks ago today, I was informed by my company that they had taken a business decision to mobilise a new operational model which would give more autonomy to the local businesses. It didn’t come as a surprise to me, working in the international hub. After all, the company had been on a transformation programme for the past two years and deep down I saw all the signs coming. Despite knowing there would be staffing impact, I found solace to stay until the very end – right to my entire department getting dissolved; because that’s what I do – I see things through. The reality I am now faced with is that I find myself available in a very large job market, only known to some potential employer as an Applicant Number or to some recruiter as a Candidate Profile. You see, on paper, I am indistinguishable.
Nonetheless, finding my next job will be the most demanding, challenging yet, and not for the reasons you may think. No doubt for sure many employers are hiring and they are becoming increasingly picky. I know. I have already received a few ‘rejected’ emails following my application, vetted merely on paper and without a single meet. BUT, you see, I too have become more discerning. I have heavily invested in building a career for myself that a job is not just a paycheck, it is a very big part of my life and am proud of it being so.
In search of…will you be my employer Valentine?
Dear Future Employer,
You may not know me, but I definitely have heard of you. This may be a long shot but I thought I would give you some insight on why it is important that we find each other. I see what I hope will be you everywhere and somehow, we just haven’t crossed paths yet.
Cover letter rules say I should write why I would like to work for you, why I am the best candidate for the job and what makes your company special. But I don’t like to spin stories, so I will be honest with you.
I hope I do not sound too presumptuous but I would like us to work for each other – where we match in vision, values, integrity and personality. It is not a one-way street. It is best to establish this on the onset that a healthy symbiotic relationship is a crucial foundation for our partnership. Our ability to thrive in our professional endeavours at all times depends on how healthy our association is from the very start. So as much as I need to convince you why I would like to work for you, the same is expected from you too.
Now comes the part where I need to justify why I am the best candidate for you. This is never easy for me. It is not a simple checklist that I can cross to make you feel better in your decision-making. I can only describe my career experiences as being thrown into deep, shark-infested waters and plenty times without a lifeline. What I can tell you is, I am a survivor. I have never accepted a job that was simple, operationally established nor perfectly laid out. That would be too boring and unsatisfying, to me, at least. Most of my career has been spent fixing, rebuilding, and creating new – whatever it entailed to achieve each business success: from processes, frameworks, models to relationships. Often faced with uncertainty, changeable and uncontrollable forces working their magic throughout. You see, to me a job is just not about enhancing a specialisation or getting satisfaction from a job well done, but finding meaning in what I do. Meaningfulness is about the why, not just about the what. Something that’s meaningful for me may be inconsequential for another, especially if one is just out to find a paycheck. So, I apologise in advance when I read your job specifications and think to myself, “Sure, I guess I can do that.” Because I think that even though I have a deep knowledge of almost nothing, I am open to learning, am curious. With that, I do have the potential to do – almost – anything. Please excuse me when I say the only requirements not listed in your job description are: gumption and a can-do attitude, which I happen to possess. So, if we’re looking for the same things, am sure you will not write me off just yet.
And lastly, while it may be easier to impress you with open-source intelligence on what makes your company special, the power of company culture and values are best uncovered by observing the choices the company makes. I think it is the idea of mystery that makes you so intriguing. Many companies only have one purpose: to maximise their profits. I believe in people and being able to choose a job that can add value to our world, that leaves it better than when we found it, and genuinely helps other people. Culture is something that cannot be copied, same for my personal convictions. It is about working towards a higher purpose than just about making money. It is something to be proud of in life.
I want to look back at this one day and be glad I found you. And you know what they say, good things come to those who wait. It is time I find something which is near to my heart and this time, am going for it.
Sealing the deal.
After reading this, you should hire me because I am the kind of person that you’re looking for. I believe in myself and I am self-determined. In the end, it’s all about trust. You can overlook someone’s flaws but if you can’t trust them, they’re worthless. I can only prove my worth through my performance and my unwillingness to compromise my core values. I trust you will give me the support and flexibility in return to be able to do my job. In a world of constant change, an employee’s core values are becoming more important to the success of any organisation, regardless of its size or uniqueness. With that, you have my trust.