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March 2001: Paul Smith writes.... of a cool way to sell yourself.
Bright ideas come along once in a while. That Mr. Heinz suddenly thought of adding tomato sauce and Einstein realised that energy equals mass times the speed of light squared prove this. My own recent well lit thought was about a sensible use for the Internet. It’s not just a place for seeing naked ladies (a recurring theme in my columns) or an arena for dotcom companies to go bust in, you know. In the course of my job hunting (which had a happy ending, more of which at the bottom of this waffle) I sent out a thick wad of CVs to I.T. firms within a drivable radius of my home. The cost of stamps, envelopes and rather nice conqueror laid paper all added up. Factor-in the time and effort of writing the envelopes and adjusting the covering letter to each potential employer, and the whole operation begins to look like a lot of hard work, or at least not as much fun as watching Richard and Judy. I’m a big believer in working smarter and I came up with what I think is a rather neat idea.
I put a version of my CV on the web by simply cutting and pasting my paper one into a HTML editor. Of course, in the name of common sense and because the web is crawling with weirdoes, I was a little vague about my address and other very personal information. I added a couple of pictures and some links to my regular site and it was ready to go! Phase two of my grand plan was to use the directory pages of various trade publications to make a list of e-mail addresses. The next step was to write a generic covering e-mail complete, and this is the smart bit, with hyperlinks to my CV page. For less than the time it takes to find and copy down the address of a few disties, I had a fairly hefty database to do a broadcast e-mailing to. And unlike a paper C.V. which appears unbidden on someone's desk, it’s easy to show flair, technological awareness and resourcefulness with an online one. Another advantage is an e-mail is far less bother to reply to, requiring minimal effort to hit the reply button and type a few well chosen words there and then. I even went to the trouble of adding a feedback section at the end of the web page, asking a few very quick questions about the surfers reaction to it.
Here’s the rub. If I can sell myself on the ‘net with an e-mail blitz on local businesses, connected via a hyperlink to a very specific page outlining my features and benefits, what’s to stop you doing the same for your business? Did it work for me? I don’t know. I was offered a job before I could hit the send button. I like to think it would’ve been a great success, and even if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t have cost me a bean.
Paul Smith ‘does something’ for Ingram Micro. (Role TBC)
5xx words Dale.
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