I started a business. It made me want to drink copious quantities, smoke myself into oblivion and hit my head against a brick wall. Instead I wrote a blog.
Most of my day has been spent on getting to know one of the consultants on the site. It's lucky I didn't really know him before, because in my youth I was a terrible - ahem - 'star-lover', and as it turns out this guy managed global blockbuster games for the Harry Potter franchise. Despite my awe, I have managed to maintain my nonchalant cheekiness throughout our interaction. But it's a bit like finding out you've been rude to the Queen without knowing it.
Today we've been going through a great new report he uploaded to explain how one gets higher rankings in Google, several discussions on figuring out the blog perspective of a newer site and considerably more time evaluating and re-positioning his CV.
What is surprising is that this incredible consultant with his worldwide network of developers and marketeers, who has had the most amazing corporate success, is not so hot at tooting his own horn on paper (although I like to think that after today's 'talking to' he's a bit better).
Touting yourself in black and white amid all the online noise nowadays is an essential skill. But the balance between complete cockiness and justified but assertive confidence is a hard one. On one hand it gives an impression of a falsely inflated ego and on the other, well Simon Cowell. Can you tell them apart? And how do you strike the right balance?
I feel the best way is to treat yourself like a brand. I happen also to have spent this evening editing another great report and following the success of the freebie 'Creating Brand Love', I am very happy to introduce 'Creating Brand Love - The Sequel'. It describes the psychology behind branding and the emotional need behind a purchaser's decision making (it'll be uploaded tomorrow). Of course theoretically employing someone in a function only requires functional skills. You want a financial analyst, get someone who is qualified in financial analysis.
But as you rise higher in a company, the more obvious the need is to move from purely functional to both functional and emotional. Emotions are triggered by pain avoidance or pleasure pursuit. And usually employing people is to deal with a lot the former. Because higher level managers deal with people every day and this produces conflict.
It's worth pointing out that conflict rarely occurs simply because someone delivers late, but that this is often given as a reason. The conflict happens because the manager who's deliverable is impacted, has a fear of failure or has a bonus tied up with this project that he needs for his kid's schooling and will be undermined as the family breadwinner if he doesn't get it or is not secure in his ability to successfully lead a team...the list goes on.
That's why writing your CV needs some demonstration of your ability to alleviate the underlying problems which contribute to negative emotions - insecurity, jealousy and anger. And at this level it is usually about conflict resolution between people. Most people hate prolonged conflict - it gives them ulcers.
So take for example the following sentence:
This sentence is trying to imply an ability to resolve agency conflict (differing priorities and interests between parties) and information asymmetry (different levels of information and knowledge often restricted between themselves on purpose due to agency conflict) between different operating entities especially when running global campaigns or projects; it's huge problem in many comapnies and needs an understanding of cultural psychology and some very clever people management to gel a cross-border team together and deliver. But the above sentence on a CV means bugger all. Bla Bla Bla.
So when tooting your own horn, think about the problem you solved and just how it contributed to people's emotional state - the relief of stress actually IS a great pleasure (opposite end of spectrum in the hedonic control system - that which motivates you). As opposed to just fulfilling a functional need, if you can clearly state the problem, how you alleviated the stress and as well as how this potentially contributed to the glorification of the person in question, the appeal of these things to the person's emotions (and the promise of less ulcers) will get you hired.
Follow Louisa Leontiades on Twitter: www.twitter.com/moneydecisions