Thursday, 22 September 2011


Have you got a USP? No, I'm not talking sci-fi, aliens, spaceships and physic phenomenon. That's ESP, like ET and his “ET phone home” glowing finger. USP is your Unique Selling Point. Everybody has to have one or invent several. USPs are being drummed in as the way to get ahead, beat off stiff competition, go forward. The term used to only apply to marketing products, but in recent years it has spread to recruitment. The wow that makes you stand out from the crowd. Make employers sit up and take notice. People packaged up like commodities.

I hate being judged on this basis. The typical response: “It's a dog-eat-dog world. Everyone is out for themselves.” Competition is good, but is this attitude healthy? I have to trample on everyone else to get to the top. Show others exactly what I'm made of. It makes me wince when I think what people do to put themselves out there. You know the show stopping stuff. The kind of stuff that gets posted on youtube or The Apprentice contestants CVs. This blog is me being brave, but I draw the line in how far I'd go to promote it. I don't even like having a personal profile. A basic description of me. How do you sum up in so many words what you're like? Words fail to provide an accurate representation. I like being an enigma.

In going for jobs we're told your cover letter and CV is the platform to the main arena. The job interview stage, or the lion's den as I call it. Dragons too tame for this process. The unflinching stare of the panel, pouncing on you with question after question. “What are your strengths and weakness?”, “Give an example of a challenging situation you've dealt with”, “Where do you want to be in 5 years time?” the interviewers roar. Confidence evaporating, answers getting meeker. Every nervous pause and tic duly noted. How do you reply? Reel out the attributes you know they want to hear. Organised, reliable, motivated, team player etc. How do you make sure you have the edge over your competitors? Do you keep it quirky? Tell them you can revive dead plants like ET. You can use a stapler. Inform them of the skills you've perfected with experience. Exaggerate your qualifications and become an overnight high achiever.

Decoy tactics sum up the interview process. The hustle to be what others expect or how we'd like to be perceived. What happened to genuineness? No false claims or stating the obvious, unlike some product packaging today. Shouldn't being you be enough? The ultimate USP.