It is wonderful how quickly you get used to things, even the most astonishing. (Edith Nesbitt)
What does being unusual have to do with getting a job? A lot. Because everyone is unusual in some way.
Everyone knows you can’t run for Governor and expect to win if you are a professional wrestler who wears feather boas. It is worse if you are a radio talk show host who is conservative AND liberal at the same time. Jesse Ventura became a Governor by being all these things. He got a lot of politicians upset and confused. He also did a great job of running the state. But, less than half the people voted for him.
My partner and I offend some people. We do it by being ourselves. We are not purposely obnoxious. We are friendly and inoffensive by our standards. We just believe in being open, honest, and having fun. We have a theory that we can either try to be bland inoffensive gray, or we can enjoy work being just who we are. We can’t do both. We have found a LOT of people who like it when we are ourselves. Even the candidates who literally leave our office in tears because we are candid with them, send their friends to us. But some people refuse to do business with us. We choose to pay that price.
We don’t set out to be obnoxious. Neither should you. If that nose jewel is just an accessory, don’t wear it to the interview. If you will not work without it, wear it. The same thing goes for a beard. Dress up in the best way you know how for an interview. Make your resume as professional AND personal as possible. Use good manners always. Be honest. Be yourself. Also understand that whether you dress very conservatively or outrageously, you will be judged as a bad fit for some jobs. Just make the choice consciously.
There are jobs for programmers, salespeople, bankers and accountants in very conservative companies. The jobs also exist in companies that have bizarre office paint jobs, people with pink hair and pierced tongues, and parking lot hockey games at lunch. I can point out such companies deep in Amish country in Lancaster, PA. All companies want team players who fit into their very different cultures.
Let’s be honest. The more unusual you are, the more exceptional your accomplishments have to be. Don’t set out to offend or shock people. Be as nice and sociable as you can. Fit in with company culture wherever possible. Just don’t be afraid to be a little different, to be yourself.
Something To Do Today
Call my office after 6 pm and go to my voice mail. (717)975-9001. Bryan Dilts is the name. I change my message occassionally. My message is “very unprofessional” according to many. It also sets me apart in the minds of people who hear it.