As part of the ‘holding our hands through redundancy’, my current (not for much longer) employer has been pretty amazing in all the courses and training they’ve offered. It’s meant that although on maternity leave I’ve used up all my KIT days going in to listen to presentations on shares, pensions, see financial advisors, solicitors, HR representatives….etc etc
Back in the spring, I did a little visit back in to work for a workshop on CV writing and interview skills. It was very much needed, having not looked for a job in 14 years. The CV writing tips were put to good use, and I knocked up a little beauty all ready for the job fair thrown in July.
I arrived that day buzzing to have a change of scenery; dressed semi smart, childcare sorted from 8-5 and gagging for lots of hot coffees. It couldn’t get better than when my WBF walked in to the same session and pulled up a seat next to me.
There was, as you can imagine, some awkward role play, some worried faces, and lots of ‘what are you going to do’ conversations. Lunch was thrown in, and all in all it was a really useful day.
So what was my take home message?
The day started with the dreaded ’round the room’. Fortunately, they started at the opposite end to us with the questions we all had to answer.
1. What’s your name, current position.
2. What’s your employment history.
3. What are you hoping to get out of today.
4. What do you do in your spare time
5. Tell us something memorable about you.
Q 1-3 were pretty straight forward, but spare time? something memorable? that threw me into a blind panic.
As the delegates each answered I was racking my brains. Answers so far were pretty amazing ; I ran the London marathon last week, I’m a member of the TA, I’m a Chelsea season ticket holder (from a 50something year old lady), I’m a scout leader, I’m Vietnamese.
I gave my best bud a nudge…. “Jo, quick help…tell me something memorable about me”. She looked at me blankly and with a laugh whispered back “I can’t think of anything”.
As she gave her intro, telling everyone how she has recently got into long distance cycling and completed the London to Brighton bike ride, I realised there was only one answer I could give.
Spare time, I don’t really remember what that is. As I have two children under four. We enjoy doing stuff as a family, just the simple things really. I have lots of things I used to do in my spare time, running, enjoying live music (my first love), going to festivals. But in all honesty, I haven’t done those things in about, ooh three and a half years; since becoming a mum.
As for something memorable. At this time I don’t really have any hobbies as such: but I have a gorgeous 5 month old baby, and an crazy fun energetic 3 year old. I’m not even sure I should say this in an interview, but what’s memorable about me, at the moment is that I’m very busy being a Mum.
The recruitment consultant cemented, at the end of the day that the most important thing in finding a job, is being memorable. How are you as a candidate going to stick in the employers mind. How is your CV going to stand out in a pile of 200?
It made me worry so much, that if I did go to an interview, what would be memorable about me? I do have a gorgeous jacket with buttery and floral print – that’s pretty memorable?
My resume is impressive in itself, but I imagine so are lots of other people’s. Having interviewed plenty of times myself, I knew exactly what he meant ; when you’re discussing the stand out candidates they all become ‘Fishing guy’, or ‘the artist woman’. In fact, I was once employed and known as ‘Lizard girl’ for my reference to love of reptiles on my CV, so I was later told.
As I wrote my CV the week after, in the hobbies and interests section, I elaborated over my love of nature, gardening. I even mentioned running as I think it’s a positive thing to demonstrate a healthy lifestyle. But, as you know, those trainers haven’t been used in a while.
I’ve chatted to lots of friends and colleagues about this question. What’s memorable about me? They have all assured me I am memorable in myself. But That wasn’t good enough for me.
This is where I decided to pursue something I’d been thinking about for a while. Blogging.
I’d laid awake at night thinking of blog names, imagining all the things I would write about, wondering whether I could make a go of it? But the realisation of my lack of interests was enough to push me, to go for it.
And it’d be a great thing to talk about in an interview wouldn’t it? It certainly would be memorable.