How (not) to apply for a job?

Some time ago I was responding to a job offer in a very different way I have done before. Although I knew it was unlikely it would go any further, I enjoyed writing it, as it felt the right thing to do at that time. So, ultimately I might have written this to myself, for my own pleasure, which should not be the way to do these kind of things, but sometimes one just wants to try something different.

Here goes the blog post, which I kept for private access only until today. In the end I started somewhere else for now, but it helped me figuring out a little bit better, what I really enjoy. And now, the blog post application:

——————————————————

Hi,

this is the first time I am applying for a job to a Chief Happiness Officer. Well, it’s the first time I am applying for a job at Buffer, too. And actually it’s the first time I start a motivation letter by explaining that this is the first time…

My point is: It’s different.

I was looking forward to writing this application, since I saw @nicolesimon tweeting yesterday the following update.

Nicole Simon

By the way, the profile pic on the left of the @buffer one, that would be me. Yes, pretty small, I know and I will share a better one in a couple of paragraphs. Promised. My name is Felix Escribano aka @felmundo and I am using Twitter since 2008. Here you will find my social profile wall.

So, again. Why is this different? In the past I sent out many applications since I left school in Germany in 1990 and even more since I left university in 2000. None of them were like this one. Not only because I am not following any standard motivation letter procedure this time, but because this is fun and I am enjoying it!

Not all my jobs required a formal application, as you will see from the following list, but most of them did:

  • Journalist in Latin America and Tenerife
  • Barman and Call Centre Agent in Paris
  • Diving Assistant on Tenerife
  • University Researcher in Tel Aviv
  • Head of an Aid Development Project in Niger
  • PR Consultant & Internal Communications Consultant & Enterprise 2.0 Coach in Spain and Germany at the adidas Group, several communication consultancies and an NGO.

(My LinkedIn-Profile has more on my activities, excluding my Diving and Barman experience, which I will be happy to share with you on our Skype-Call or Google HO 😉 Check out as well this animated Vizify-Map of my Tour du Monde, if you like)

By now, you surely have noticed that I am not an English native speaker. I have both, the Spanish and German Citizenship, speak and write both languages and speak basic French, too. English became my main business language since I traveled the world as a backpacker and worked mostly in international teams and international companies.

So, usually I would have started my motivation letter somewhat like this:

I was very interested to see your online-advertisement “Happiness Hero”. I have been seeking just such an opportunity as this, and I think my background and your requirements may be a good match.

Now I didn’t. Obviously. I did not want to, as I love the way you are trying to live a new way of working, which I am evangelizing about at companies, in communication agencies and on social media. There are many names for it. Some call it Enterprise 2.0, some social business, some holacracy, some responsive, some wirearchy, for many it is the answer to the challenges in a rapidly changing and increasingly complex world. Valve (excellent employee handbook!) and Zappos are companies mentioned when it comes to best cases for a new breed of company culture. And so is Buffer.

Your product is a must-have for anyone who wants to schedule and analyze its posts on Twitter & LinkedIn (these are the platforms I am using Buffer for). Not only has your technical service been fantastic so far, but I was always impressed by the way you stay in touch with your users. As an early adopter I am following the evolution of Buffer since a few years now…

…. and as a Communications Consultant I was quite impressed, by how you handled your crisis communications when your user database got hacked.

I am using a great range of Social Media platforms and specialized on Enterprise 2.0 platforms and Knowledge Management & Collaboration tools since 2009, but only few ones I really enjoyed using, as I did with Buffer. In this blog post I gathered P(ersonal) K(nowledge) M(anagement) tools I recommended to employees at the adidas Group interested in informal and social learning. I was training and coaching them in understanding SharePoint technology and – more importantly – the concept of communities and community management in a networked organization. A concept which would help us to leverage Enterprise 2.0 platforms for employee engagement, collaboration, innovation, and knowledge and information sharing purposes.

This presentation is a brief extract of what I consider crucial competencies (not skills!) for a good (internal) community manager. Full version available in German only, sorry. However, Yammer has published an excellent Guide on Slideshare, which I consider the best on the market so far.

Here are some of my blog posts I wrote in English diving into different communication topics, such as SOS – Social Operating SystemWelcome to the Communications Matrix!The culture of collaborationWelcome Enterprise 2.0…Do you speak Denglish?

Standing up for a new idea of communication, organization, leadership and overall company culture may be frustrating sometimes, but I found always a way to move on, learn and adapt and enjoy what I was doing. Whenever I could, I shared what I learned with my community inside the corporate firewall using external platforms, as internal ones where mostly available. That is why I used this Vimeo-Screencast-Video to share my learnings on Sharing Knowledge Sharing.

So, what would have been next in my usual motivation letter? Probably something like this.

I was able to prove my qualities, such as strong analytical and organization skills, and adapt to challenging situations. During my career I gained extensive experience in a variety of roles in the communications arena. I performed my tasks independently and self-motivated in a fast-paced, ever evolving, highly matrixed, global environment; demonstrating an ability to be flexible, adapt to changing demands quickly and remain cool under pressure.

True. But how can you know? You might check my social profiles, my networks, my references (English & German), but in order to find out why somebody born in 1970 (if I remember correctly, the only time I have been to SF was in 1991, when I traveled the U.S. A time without Internet!), currently employed as Senior Communications Consultant, dares to take a jump and send you this application, it might be necessary to have a conversation.

Listen to my story and simply trust your emotions. That is what I am doing. How to tell a compelling story about businesses like yours, where motivation is based on autonomy, mastery and purpose? And how to tell the story about the people who decided to make a difference and risk change? Take a look at the movie at the end of this post; It might give us an answer.

I would like to thank you for reading this blog-letter and hope you enjoyed it a little bit. I had a good time writing it and I would be happy hearing from you again. In any case, I wish Buffer all the best and hopefully you may continue working according to your values.

Kind regards,

Felix Escribano

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