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In this most troubling of times, many of us are facing redundancy or at least an incredibly uncertain future. I have been through redundancy a number of times, as I work in the third sector, many of our jobs are reliant on grants and sponsorship, which can disappear overnight.

The last time I was staring redundancy in the face, it wasn’t the happiest of times, but I wasn’t going to let it get me down. I started thinking about my options, and how to approach the eternal pain in the proverbials that is job hunting.

Now, I know from both hiring people for teams and working briefly in recruitment (a lifetime ago) that CVs that get sent in application for roles are sometimes barely looked at or written off as the applicant fails to sell their skills well enough. 

I thought that there must be a better way of giving myself a leg up in the pursuit of my dream job, or the next step on the way to my dream job. I kept asking myself the same question, I’m useful, I’m skilled, I’m an asset, but how can I get noticed?!

I tried to be as proactive as possible in my job search and so took to LinkedIn and tried to compose something that would make me stand out, but also something that was interesting to read so that this would be shared and noticed by people beyond my network of connections:

“ Due to some unforeseen circumstances I have fallen victim to the cruel beast that is redundancy. She is a cruel mistress, and I have had the misfortune of running into her once before in the last 12 months.

However! This presents an exciting opportunity – The Unknown.

I am looking for my next challenge, and I am excited where it will lead me. I have carved a diverse career out of being a self-starter, with a flair for creative thinking and the work ethic of a Victorian mill worker. This has led me down many paths, starting my own charity, producing documentaries about endangered species, getting attacked by leeches in rainforests, running away from Komodo dragons (they are surprisingly fast), meeting Kriss Akabusi (awooga), working for incredible organisations, fundraising, a brief yet enjoyable stint in recruitment, engaging the trickiest of stakeholders home and abroad and developing long term development plans both in a conservation and a corporate setting.

I want to throw myself into something that I truly believe in – and I guarantee that if anyone chooses to have me on their team, I will work my sweet cheeks off. Don’t take my word for it:

“There’s too much to say about Luke McMillan. He is highly-intelligent, a born leader, a careful listener and one of the hungriest and hardest working professionals I have ever met. His knowledge of the environment, sustainability and how to incubate results-driven grassroots programs that help improve the planet and the living conditions of people within targeted communities are enviable. He has worked smartly and strategically to gain excellent global experience in business, finance and technology. He’s that guy you’ll read about in Time magazine one day in the not-so-distant future.” – Ruby Faulk, Head of Comms, AWF

So, if you want to know more please get in touch – let’s have a coffee – and I will bring in cake.

Luke

ps. If I’m not quite right for you, please share this, as there might be someone in your network who needs to fill a gap!”

Looking back at it now, it lacked some finesse, and some said it made me look a little desperate, whilst others said people wouldn’t take any notice of my ramblings, however, I saw it as the only way to sell myself, as opposed to going the through the normal HR team CV paper sift, which normally doesn’t do any of us any favours.

I tried to put as much of me across as possible in as few words as possible, the facts as well as letting people know I had a bit of a sense of humour, in a time where you would probably think I’d be reaching for the gin. 

And you know what… It bloody worked.

Through countless shares from amazingly supportive friends and strangers alike, I ended up in a role which turned out to be the most important career move of my life – all because I was able to get my story on a decision makers laptop screen and engage their curiosity.

So, this has got me thinking…

Your Personality – why is that never on your CV? 

I mean, it’s what makes you YOU.

In most roles there are probably 50 other people who could do the role as well as you (no offence) – but in this generation where 30% of 18 year olds are gaining university places, there are a lot of qualified people out there.

So, how are you going to get the job?

I would suggest you appeal to people’s humanity; you are more than a few words on 2 sides of A4 (“max”). 

People want to hire people they won’t mind spending most of their working day with – so get your personality across. 

If you are writing a CV or a cover letter, by all means tell people how great you are going to be in the role, how you have a raft of transferable skills that would make Bear Grylls jealous, but don’t forget to let them see a little bit of you, after all, you are your biggest strength.

Good luck. Be bold. Be yourself. – Luke McMillan

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