I didn’t realise you could get blisters on the ends of your toes. They weren’t painful. Just curious. They must have been emitting some pain. But it paled in comparison to my quadriceps. They positively screamed at me whenever I moved. So I didn’t move. I just sat there contemplating the feat I had achieved. Whether it was a feat of human endurance or sheer stupidity…..well, that remained in the realm of opinion. I was erring on the side of stupidity at that point.
I had just finished the Welsh Ironman, a gruelling triathlon of 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle, and a marathon to finish. I was now in the finisher’s tent, pork sandwich in hand, trying desperately to remove my trainers. It was proving futile. The energy required to bend forward no longer existed. The day had been an emotional one. I had swung from “this is the best day ever”, whilst in the crystal clear waters of Tenby’s ocean, to “that’s it, I’m quitting”, when the driving rain lashed my skin half way into the cycle. I had held on. Motivated by Jeremy Paxman’s old adage of “I’ve started so I’ll finish”, I trudged my way over the finish line, arms aloft and feet in tatters.
Was it worth it? I started my Ironman quest whilst at university. I was in the midst of applying for graduate jobs, and thought endlessly about my employability. I went as far as auditing the soft skills I possessed. Highlighting my gaps, I started to list experiences that would fill these deficiencies. “Resilience” was one item on the list, and next to it, I had written “Complete Ironman”.
We are in an age where your degree qualification is no longer the differentiator. It will get you in the night club, along with everybody else. It is your soft skills that are the secret sauce. They will ensure you do not go home alone. Your degree may get you an interview, but it is your personality and extra curricular activities that will secure you the job. Each website, book and blog post I read all pointed towards this. They stated the importance of developing a “well rounded” personality, and numerous examples of when you have “handled pressure”, “led a team”, or “organised yourself”. I made it my job to accrue these examples, hence my journey through the pain barrier in Tenby. All to answer “tell me about a time you demonstrated resilience” with “I swam 2.4 miles, cycled 112, ran 26 all on the same day, and lived to tell the tale”.
Trouble is, I never got the opportunity.
I sent countless applications, each one greeted with an automated consolatory email thanking me for my application and apologising for my rejection. I had averaged 85% at university, pursued a whole host of extra curricular activities, gained relevant work experience and finished the bloody Ironman – all for the purpose of getting a graduate job – and this is what I had to show for it! I looked over my applications thinking why I was being met with such apathy. The only blemish I could see were my A-Level grades. These represented letters further down the alphabet than would be desirable, and were probably the reason for my lack of success. I bemoaned my ill-fate, but the experience had me thinking. Employers place importance on soft skills, yet place minimal importance on these during the early stages of the application process.
How could they? All they had to go off was either an automated application system, or worse…..the CV!
I mean, Leonardo Da Vinci wrote a CV. It’s been kicking around for years, unchanged, unquestioned and still useless. We live in a world where we can video ourselves screaming loudly whilst a sadistic friend or partner drenches us with ice cold water. Or we can wave an iPhone in our makup-less visage, snapping our au-natural selves, only to cover up the results with instagram filters. We can record our lives with the click of our smartphone, and yet, to market our qualities to a potential employer we search frantically online for “CV templates” and produce a boring document that assigns our character to one side of A4. How mundane.
We should be able to use our media-producing capabilities to create a rich online profile of our soft skills; a place to show employers what we are made of. The line “completed Ironman Wales” in my CV didn’t cut the mustard. I wanted them to see my gaunt face, the perspiration on my brow and the joy and relief I felt when I crossed the finish line. I wanted them to feel my resilience and determination. They would’ve thought twice about clicking the “Reject” button, then. They’d be afraid I would run to their offices and cause a commotion. Us Ironmen do those sorts of things.
Google can rank web pages with frightening sophistication. Type in “How do I make my dog stand on its tail and juggle swords” and you will get the relevant result right at the top of your page. Why can’t we do that with people (not the juggling, we don’t have tails…)? Employers should be able to rank candidates in terms of their qualities. These qualities would be demonstrated by rich media they upload to a professional profile. Candidates could create videos, photos, blogs, status updates and document uploads to showcase their personality, skills and employability. Employers could access this information to get a clear overview of what a person could offer their organisation.
And that is what our mission is at Kloodle. We want to give people access to profiles that do more justice than a CV, that boring document whose relevance faded away with Mona Lisa’s smile. We want employers to be able to see what a person is truly capable of, what they have achieved and what potential they have to achieve great things in the future.
The CV has died a death. The future is online. Welcome to Kloodle.