The Potential Employee Flip

I can remember a time when it really mattered that you stayed in the same industry.  If you wanted a job in consumer goods marketing for example, it really mattered that you had experience in consumer goods marketing.  If you wanted to transition industries it was an incremental process. You had to eek your way across to new ground. Small step by small step. They wouldn’t let you play in their playground unless you had played their before, or at least a very similar playground. Sadly, our first job often defined us for much of our career. An potential employee needed a logical straight lined career flow.

I’m glad to say those days are over.

That attitude was one of protection. It’s a guild ethic, where profits are a function of a knowable, existential system. One that must be protected at all costs. But when a system breaks down, the smart players look for a new set of functions. A new attitude and ideas from an unfamiliar realm. If you’re in the middle of career transition, or wanting to break into a self determined entrepreneurial realm then there has never been a better time in history to do it. It’s damn exciting.

The best CV, or should I say personal brand isn’t one with a consistent story line. No, today it needs to be a set of juxtaposed, unusual and significantly differentiated projects, industries and activities. One that shows experimentation and the ability to cope with non-linear complexity. Go ahead and get involved in some, we’re waiting for you.


6 Comments The Potential Employee Flip

  1. Keith

    Hi Steve, love your blog. I completely agree with your perspective on broad experience, but am yet to see any examples of it here in Australia! I returned from Europe last year with what has been widely praised as fantastic experience, giving me hope of a good role. Instead, I find that at a senior level in Australia it’s all about safety and as I call it a ‘railroad’ career – i.e. you’ve never deviated from the same straight line tracks. The majority of feedback I receive is that “you’ve not worked in XXXX long enough” and “we’re looking for 7-10 years in pure X field ….” etc – despite having worked with similar functions for substantial periods of time. Any examples you’ve seen that suggest otherwise? I’d be really keen to hear about them! Cheers, keep up the great blog!

  2. Steve Sammartino

    Hey Keith,

    I agree that your experience is the majority view in Australia. But any company who still thinks this way is not fertile soil for your skill base. I’d use this as a warning sign of who to avoid. I find that tech industries and burgeoning growth arenas are more open minded. for example if you go for an industry or company that has been around for only 5 years… then they can’t demand 10 years experience! That’s where I’d put my effort. Hope this helps!

  3. briliantilluminators

    Hi Steve! You were right.. Being loyal to one company doesn’t sound too attractive to most employers especially if you get laid off and you only have one work experience in your CV. Employers nowadays, do need various experience. I understand they need people with top of the line experiences, those that engaged in dynamic environment and are easy to adjust in that particular environment as well. Your post really motivated me.. i want to join in your league now LOL.. 🙂

  4. nigel

    I’d agree with Keith, as someone currently looking for a job the biggest feedback I get is that I have great experience but companies are looking for relevent industry experience even in tech (which has been around for more than 5 years now). Nice idea in theory though

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