Why Job Search is like Ballet

When I'm working with my clients, I often fall back on an analogy of going to the ballet.

I am walking past Arts Centre Melbourne on a balmy Melbourne evening after work. The North Wind is howling, and it has been a scorching hot day. The city is lit up and the infamous spire looms large ahead of me. I look forward to jumping into the car and starting the air-conditioner, but then something catches my eye.

The two figures embrace passionately in a par de deux against a cobalt blue, icy background. Their costumes are resplendent. "The Nutcracker" I read on the poster. Hurrah!... one of my childhood favourites! That's all it took to make me stop in my tracks on that scorching evening when all I really wanted to do was get in my car and go home. The Marketing Team at the Australian Ballet had created a great RESUME.

Most people in Australia use the terminology resume and CV interchangeably and really do not know the difference, but there is a very significant difference. The resume does just what the poster at Arts Centre Melbourne did. It stops the target audience in their tracks. It speaks to something subliminal and gives it's audience an appetite for more. It is eye-catching and suggestive and heralds a call to action. In the case of the Ballet, the call to action was to buy a ticket. And I did... on my way to the car. In fact, I bought tickets for the whole family to attend in the week leading up to Christmas.

Now I am not suggesting you post your resume all around town on billboards, but what I am suggesting is that your resume is a tool you can provide to your network and advocates to share. This has the potential to get you seen and remembered in the ever-powerful hidden job market. The Hidden Market is the often-overlooked realm which (before COVID) was rumoured to harbour up to 80% of the available jobs on the market.

The fateful night arrives, and my family and I ready ourselves. With excited anticipation we sit in our seats in the theatre. We clutch our scorched almonds and programs on our knees and absorb the palpable buzz of energy in the theatre as everyone settles in. Meanwhile I thumb through the pages of my program. I read about the technical expertise and specialists who have all come together to create this experience. Credentials and previous accomplishments are highlighted, but my favourite part is reading through the story of the performance we are about to watch. This ignites my imagination and I sit in the dim lights and wonder more and more about what is to come. The program is the story of the Company, the performance and the ballet.

Did you know that the humble CV or Curriculum Vitae translates to "The course of one's life?" This is the document where we tell our story, similar to the program at the Ballet. We need to describe the technical achievements and competencies that demonstrate we can do the job, but equally as important is telling our career story in a way that is easy to understand and evokes in the reader a sense of wonder and excitement. Where did it all start? What adversity have we overcome? What superpowers have we relied on? What have we achieved?

A hush falls over the audience and the lights dim. The curtain is raised, and we are transported into the world of the ballet. The performance is polished, poised, and graceful. Each artist and technical expert is finely rehearsed and it shows in every second of the performance. In everything they do, the company demonstrates the abilities and skills they have written about in their program. Most importantly though, they artfully draw the audience member into another world where we personally connect with each performer. When finally they return to the stage for the curtain call, we stand to applaud and celebrate their success, so engaged are we by the performance, and so intimately do we feel we know the performers.

In every interview I coach a client for, this is what we aspire to deliver in those 40 or so minutes. This polished and prepared demonstration of capability coupled with a very real human connection is what a successful interview looks and feels like. The interviewer feels engaged and captivated, and the interviewee feels elated and proud at the end of the experience.

Now, in the Job Market, like the Arts, we need to adapt our audience engagement strategies to connect with and impact our audience. But one thing is certain. Simply tacking on your latest experience to a dusty version on your CV just isn't going to be enough in this competitive marketplace.

Demonstrate your creativity, agility, and ability to think outside the square. How can you do things differently?

#auatralianballet #artscentremelbourne #careercoaching #jobsearch #resume #jobinterview #cv

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