Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Can a 3m X 4m sized CV turn to be a key factor for success?

Desperate for a job, a sales manager shouted his motivation on an advertising hoarding.

The first rule of CV writing is to keep CVs within a maximum of one or two pages. But there are people thinking this could just not be enough, Bruno Bourgeon is one of them.

This sales manager, actively seeking a job since April 2009, at the beginning of 2010 realised that just sending out CVs was not enough and that a different strategy and action were, then, required.

So that, this former estate agency’s director decided to rent a billboard in the surroundings of Angles, in the environs of Avignon (France), in order to publicly foster and show his professional ambitions. “Senior sales manager looking for whatever kind of opportunity. I want a job!” this is what people driving along this road could read on this 4m X 3m billboard.

“After my estate agency went bankrupt, I have scrutinised job advertisements, sent out applications and answered to many job advertisements”, explains Bruno Bourgeon, 57, “in a whole year I just got an interview and it did not lead to a job offer”.

In his case, he has no doubt, what penalises him is not the downturn but his age. “I started putting away my photo from my CV, then my birth date, but seeing as this was changing nothing, I decided to review my strategy and to think “big”.

Billboard owners were so touched by this initiative that decided to display his advertisement for free. But this is not all; the initiative also impressed the business producing posters which had been contacted by Mr. Bourgeon, which finally billed him just the poster’s production costs, namely € 70,00 instead of the usually required sum of approximately € 500,00.

“All of those support gestures were extremely moving”, explains Mr. Bourgeon, “and definitely encouraged me to carry on”.

Once the poster was displayed Mr Bourgeon received hundreds of encouraging calls and text messages. Many people also said that they recognised themselves in his story in that being, or having been, in that same situation.

Mr Bourgeon did never think he could become the seniors’ jobseekers spokesperson, but he thought that if his activity could have helped some people to sort their problem out, he would have been delighted to help.

His appeal finally reaches the right ears, or rather the right eyes. Last June, in fact, the CEO of a business selling products by mail, Mr Yves Jean, got in contact with him. Mr Jean says that he was just looking for a sales person when his accountant told him about the poster. “Actually, the billboard was just very few yards away from our factory, nonetheless, I had never seen it. I then went to take a look at the poster and called Mr Bourgeon”, Mr Jean recalls.

The two people connected since the very first meeting, so that Mr Jean proposes Mr Bourgeon to attend a three months vocational training programme, partly delivered at the local Pole Emploi (the French equivalent for the Job Centre Plus) and partly delivered at the business. At the end of the programme, just last week, Mr Jean made Mr Bourgeon an employment offer, on a permanent contract basis.

Mr Jean said “Mr Bourgeon initiative touched me, that was a clear evidence of his strong motivation and assertiveness and of his ability to give values to himself. These are three key qualities of a sales person”.

It really seems, that every cloud has a silver lining, in this case at least, pity this is not always the case.