It’s been an application day today. In every sense of the word that I can think of.
I’ve applied myself to job applications using software applications after an application of gloss to my CV and career achievements. That’s a lot of application.
I’ve found the further into my job hunt I’ve got the more time I am spending on applications. I’ve been out to meet recruitment consultancies and we have even had some into the office for workshops. They have all said variations around the same themes: sell yourself; sell your achievements; and, do ‘good’ applications.
I think I’m getting a sense of what ‘good’ in this context should look like. That’s why it’s taking so long now. The early care-free days of bashing together an application and flinging it into the ether have gone. So it’s a more sober RPS approaching the job of applying for jobs these days.
But, maybe it’s the almost 50 years of diffidence that’s been bashed into me that makes some of these tasks so uncomfortable. Hunting out the nuggets of personal achievement in a career built on collaboration and teamwork feels wrong somehow. I can’t help it but I always imagine a colleague reading these claims thinking, ‘Hold on, you snake, that was me/us not you!’
Visitors will know I’m a bit of a history buff. I’ve been re-reading the first volume of the late Elizabeth Longford’s superb biography of the 1st Duke of Wellington. It’s 200 years almost to the day since the then Viscount Wellington led his army into the Lines of Torres Vedras. A series of fortifications to the north of Lisbon upon which the invading French army broke itself. I think I have mentioned before that I’m quite sad?
Anyway what I had forgotten was Wellington’s earlier unavailing efforts as the impecunious younger son of an Irish peer to get himself a job. Now I wouldn’t be forward enough to compare my situation in any way to that of the young Arthur Wesley but I can empathise with how he must have felt writing,
“I assure you nothing but the circumstances under which I labour would induce me to trouble Your Excellency’s Government … I hope I shall not be supposed to place myself too high in desiring to be taken into consideration … [but if I am] …of course you will say so …”
Been there. Got the tee-shirt, mug and commemorative calendar.
Just substitute Your Excellency’s Government with a small (but growing) band of putative public and private sector employers and you have an 18th facsimile of my covering letter’s opening paragraph. (Which given Lord Wei’s sudden enthusiasm for the Georgian and Regency periods may stand me in good stead.)
Now I’m not planning to spend the next 20 years of my career fighting in India, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, France and Belgium. Or indeed becoming the preeminent European of my age. So I think if safe to assume that Arthur’s and my career trajectories will now be divergent. But one of the career advisors did say, ‘never rule anything out.’ So let’s just park that thought.
Back to the applications …