As a recruiter, you end up interviewing a lot of people each week. That means that standing out and being memorable (within reason!) is important when you’re trying to secure a role or leave a good impression. The other day I was interviewing a candidate who was telling me a fascinating story about his OE, but for some reason, stopped himself and apologised.
I wasn’t sorry. On the contrary, I was enjoying listening to his story and found it incredibly insightful.
He was proud of going on an adventure. He’d left a stable role in favour of taking off to Egypt and visiting new places. Furthermore, he was able to secure a new role in a strange land as a Scuba Diving Instructor. Remarkable; not just because he had managed to find work in Egypt whilst travelling, but that he’d found a job that was also his passion – something that many people find difficult enough to do at home!
He was applying for a sales role (so he likely felt that Scuba Diving Instructor might not be the most relevant experience), but from our conversation I got the passion, the desire to take on a new challenge, the resilience in an often dangerous situation, the grasping of new technical skills and the ability to pass on information in a training situation to strangers. And all of that in a totally unfamiliar environment!
The experience he had had, and the way he told his story, told me so much about him, and I could tell my client numerous examples about why he would be a great fit for the role. So I wasn’t sorry, not at all – and you shouldn’t be either. Looking for work is a nervous time, and you’ll always want to present your most professional self in an interview situation. However, although you might not think some of your work and life experiences are relevant, letting your personality and experiences shine through can sometimes be exactly what you need to stand apart from the crowd.
So, take a look at your skills and experience in a new light. Think about what makes you unique, and don’t be sorry for it! It might be exactly what an employer is looking for.