Posted by: esmeashia | February 13, 2013

Hunting for a Purple Cow.

Standing out from the crowd has never really been my issue… I have ridiculously fuzzy and colourful hair with a mind of its own, an equally ridiculous (but less fuzzy) colourful wardrobe, and let’s be honest- poor time management skills. So there’s limited time for grooming, and only ever just enough time to bomb into uni each morning on my pink 70s death trap of a bike, The Spicycle… So I hope I stand out from the crowd- or it’s quite likely it’ll all end in a traffic accident.

But, differentiating myself from those on my course, and god forbid, other universities, in an academic or even employable light…? Not so easy. I’m not so sure that employers will dig the ‘sweaty wreck’ vibe in the mornings, or the uncontrollable hair… So it looks as if I’ll have to find a new thing to set me apart; my very own ‘purple cow’.

Purple cows don’t really exist, much to the disappointment of a shocking number of London’s farm-visiting kids with business-parents (who never explained it was merely a term used to inspire people to make their businesses ‘remarkable’, not a more mundane version of the unicorn). But they sure do help you to deliver what employers are looking for- an individual with something different to offer.
In my quest for guidance on how to stand out from the crowd, I headed to Institute of Directors to grill their members and staff, and received some golden advice…

They reminded me that, to an employer, a Degree is no guarantee of our ability to function in the work environment… So if you don’t have a history of work experience in, or related to, your chosen career path, grab yourself some voluntary work; it shows genuine commitment to, and an understanding of, the field… Be prepared to ‘make the tea’ and doing some ‘grunt work’ first, it may be necessary on your way up!!

70% of jobs in the UK are never advertised – so networking and direct approaches can uncover some otherwise hidden opportunities for work experience. This has inspired me to join Linked In; I’ll let you know how I get on in the daunting world of networking soon…

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