Note to applicants: You are not on The Apprentice

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In accepting that we can no longer do everything ourselves, Create. has begun the process of recruiting an Operations Manager.  It's the first time we've looked to recruit a management position and the process has been an eye-opener to a growing trend among job applications.

While reading an applicant's covering letter, or delving further into their CV, I'm increasingly likely to be subjected to their "proven track record" before being told about how they successfully designed strategies that consistently pushed envelopes outside of the box.

I am confidently assured that their dynamism and natural business acumen will single handedly take my organisation to the next level, before Simon must brace himself for their need to write about themselves in the third person, with a few synergies and paradigms thrown in for good measure.

While management candidates are arguably more likely to be saddled with this affliction, once you've seen it at its worst you start to notice it permeating into job applications in general.

Nowadays it's the internet that get's the blame for all the bad things happening in society. I am, however, going to go all retro on you and blame this on television, namely 'The Apprentice', the BBC's answer to Big Brother, but for McDonald's team leaders and market traders who've had a bit of luck.

I don't so much watch 'The Apprentice' as listen to it from a safe distance, occasionally feeling compelled to get up from what I'm doing to confirm what I'm hearing and swear at the screen. Sometimes I don't even bother getting up.

What I hear, and what I read, however, are becoming increasingly reminiscent of each other and I worry that a generation of potential business people believe they are learning how it's done from an entertainment television programme. 

Businesses need people who are intelligent, straight talking and motivated, not pseudo-entrepeneurial purveyors of verbal diarrhoea. 

When I receive a job application I don't want a dry list of past jobs and their duties, I want it to inspire me.  Don't just tell me what you've done, tell me why you did it. Show me that you understand the business you want to be part of.  Without listing a load of former glories, convince me that my business is missing out by not having you in it. Make yourself compelling.

If you want to push envelopes, go work in a post office.

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  1. Julie Stanford

    'Julie was so inspired by this blog post that she's now leading a UK-wide brainstorming tweet-up to formulate her new blog-reading strategy within the business arena.' Great post, Simon. Although it made me laugh/depressed all at the same time.

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