In 2014, I wrote on my job-search blog the following article. It featured a job-seeking young intern named Leah presenting herself on her CV as a Lego block figurine. While some people thought this was a creatively good idea, it did not sit well with me. I got the impression that Leah was trying to advertise herself in the same way a company makes marketing ads for a product.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand you have to get yourself noticed in the job search. I’ve been looking for full-time work in this Age of Austerity for eight years now and discovered jobs are harder to come by. The only way a potential employer will ask me to come in for an interview is if something about myself stands out. The line in the sand I draw is getting down to the level of portraying myself as some sort of product. As stated in that blog post, “I’m not a consumable product or service….I’m a person with feelings, ambitions, desires, and opinions”. The Lego block version of me you saw was done as a gag. Don’t expect to see it on any of my CVs any time soon.
I haven’t thought about that blog post again until I came across YouTube superstar Dave Cullen’s (Computing Forever) video about selfies. During one point of that video, he mentioned the corporate world demands we sell ourselves during an interview and remarked it was a form of “corporate prostitution”. Not only was it bang on, it also prompted me to revisit the subject of my 2014 blog post.
As an experiment, I did a Google Search using the words “Creative CVs” and the returned result horrified me.
Apparently Leah’s approach is no longer an exception but a growing trend for job-seekers. There were hundreds — yes, hundreds — of examples similar to hers. The following is just a tiny sample of what I found online:
A marketing professional marketing himself as a chocolate bar right down to itemizing his qualifications as ingredients.
A business professional marketing himself as a newspaper.
And probably not one of the most media friendly way to market oneself, with the bad press the tobacco industry is getting, a pack of cigarettes. Yes, that’s right: cancer sticks.
Appalling. Is this the level job-seekers must stoop to in order to find employment in this jobless recovery?
Must job-seekers demean and dehumanize themselves through their self-promotion to the point of becoming a thing, a consumable on an expense report like toilet paper and coffee?
Must job-seekers perform like trained dolphins in order to land employment?
Has the job search become a Hellish game of flaming hoops to jump through?
Do we now need the skill of an artist or stage show producer to get a hiring manager’s attention for something as banal as a shelf-stocker job? Don’t dismiss my point. It would certainly explain nonsense like this I come across on a regular basis in my job search.
Most important, why are we doing this to ourselves? Is our pride, our identity, worth landing a paycheque? Why can’t anyone see how wrong this is!
Thanks for reading!