It was January 2021 and university grads were contemplating a very uncertain future. They were dedicating part of their lives to further education, at great personal expense, and it seemed that the world was collapsing around them. When COVID-19 struck, the job market was looking bleak. They were faced with huge uncertainty.
This couldn’t be more true for students at the University of East Anglia in Norwich where I live. Earlier in 2020, I was invited to give a talk at their Working In Development Forum. It is an annual event that connects students with practitioners of international development to hear from them what it’s like working in this sector.
The message in my talk was simple: don’t rely on a CV of past skills and experiences to stand out in this highly competitive sector. Start writing publicly to show your credibility and give the proof that you can do the job. Meanwhile, start speaking to people and share your personal website in advance as your business card.
I built on this theme by tweeting a thread about my experience coaching someone on networking to find a job.
Applying to advertised jobs using a CV and Cover Letter is like asking a recruiter to play Where’s Wally.
Don’t be Wally.
I see this time and again by early career professionals. There’s an opportunity that many are missing: speaking to people. pic.twitter.com/OLphP4XfhA
— Andy Narracott 💥 (@AndyNarracott) November 12, 2020
I then wrote a full article about it—about how the internet has brought us closer. We no longer needed to attend conferences to network in our sector. The internet gives us the tools to 10x our network, even going directly to the hiring manager rather than leaving it to chance.
Wherever you are in your career, it pays to create a good online presence. I’m trying to make it really easy for people to just get started. I hope you’ll join me and several others who are convinced it’s time they start writing online. It’s going to be fun!