We are often told to “think outside the box’ when tackling tasks at work – but we are rarely told to apply the same approach to getting a job. Why?
When it comes to chasing our dream jobs, what is the benefit of taking an “outside the box” approach? The answer is simple. To explore ideas that are creative and unusual means that they are not limited or controlled by rules or traditions – and that will make you stand out from the crowd.
In 1988, I decided that I wanted to “live the dream” and move to the mountains. Switzerland was the destination of choice (I’d been there once before on holiday). I was 18 years old and impulsive! I had my heart set on one tiny resort – population 1431 – in an area I had never been to. I did not speak the language. I also had no concrete skills or experience either. A big fat zero. But this is where I wanted to find a job – in one of the most expensive resorts in Switzerland in an area of just 41.7 km².
Even my crazy 18-year-old self must have figured out that “normal” routes of trying to get a job there would never work. I had to think outside the box to stand any chance.
Armed with no more resources than my imagination, a bit of guts and a travel brochure, I decided to write to every hotel directly that I saw on the pages of the brochure that were specifically in that resort. This was pre-internet, so it was a long-hand paper letter, a stab at the address (hotel name, resort name, Switzerland – no Google to check!) and “surface mail” postage, as airmail was too expensive. Yes, I really am that old!
What it lacked in sleek professionalism and experience was countered by a personal touch and initiative. My outside the box approach to finding a job in an exclusive resort in Switzerland was noticed. Sure, some of the smaller hotels wrote back declining my offer; a few never bothered to reply at all. What’s the difference? You get that with traditional routes, too.
But I did get a job offer. A luxury 5-star hotel was prepared to employ me without any experience and set about supporting my work visa applications. I got the job I wanted in the very place in the world I had chosen to be. There was little probability of this happening had it not been for some out of the box thinking.
I was 18 years old and impulsive (I’m now 50 and… well you will have to find that out yourself!) but by being willing to explore ideas that were creative and unusual meant I was not limited by the traditional job seeking rules.
Mapleleaf Vision was founded in the belief that we are only limited by what we THINK is possible and it is never too late to start the journey.
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