Imagine that you were invited to submit your begin again for a job you’ve long sought. There’s just one catch: instead of the usual two-page chronological format, you must submit three icons (images, photos, pictures, etc). that represent your attributes and aptitudes. That’s it: three icons. Which ones would you choose?
Where did this idea originate? Well, I recently read an article about the strength of using images in cover letters, not unlike using images in marketing campaigns. You know, the evocative character of hot-guy-gets-hotter-girl commercial if he’s smart/cool/confident enough to excursion a particular form car.
So I thought why not apply this concept to help someone with a begin again? already if the images aren’t used in the document itself, this exercise can help almost everyone clarify – and speak knowledgeably to – their basic, chief strengths. The outcome of this iconic exercise already can be incorporated and integrated into an elevator pitch, networking, personal branding, and already ice breakers and team-building exercises!
One particularly cool example of how to use these iconic images is as a personal business card. Picture this: your name, email address and three images, perhaps with just one descriptive information for each. How individualized, how crystallized, how noticable and, how very powerful!
If you decide to do this – and I encourage you to – you should know it’s not that simple. complete disclosure: I lost two night’s sleep trying to clarify my own icons. Images were tumbling around in my sleep-starved head like fluffy towels in a clothes dryer (you know, they take longer to dry than almost everything else).
And just when I thought I’d nailed my three…well, you get the picture – or the icon. Time, open-minded thought, and creative association are meaningful!
Let’s look at a law enforcement officer, for example. It would be easy to have an image or icon of a policeman. That only tells me what the job is, and not what this person’s basic strengths are (how they see themselves in relation to what they offer/provide via their skills/role/etc.). At the end of the day, or however many sleepless nights it takes, this policeman self identifies with: a peace sign, a magnifying glass and a wedding ring.
My financial consultant executive friend Joe determined he’s best represented by: Montana, the Sistine Chapel and the Liberty Bell. He plans to use this exercise with the group he mentors. Amanda, the customer service rep turned County Transit Director, identifies with a lightning rod, a shovel and the phoenix. And me?
A diamond is: multifaceted, transformative in many ways, represents a willingness to make a commitment, has universal allurement, is at home in many settings and, oh yes, it SPARKLES!
Legos are: natural connectors, functional, minimalist, adaptive, imaginative, creative, fun, typical, bells-and-whistles free.
That marvelous little Roomba is: a current spin [pun intended] on an old design, self-managed, requires no hand holding, undeterred by obstacles, cleans up others’ messes, energy efficient, and pretty cool and sleek looking!
If I handed you my business card with only these three images – diamond, legos and Roomba – or incorporated them into a begin again, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, wouldn’t you perhaps want to know more about me? That’s exactly the point!