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Marginal Gains

Marginal Gains

12 Jan 12:00 by Matthew Rollinson


First of all I’ll begin this with no-cost a life hack that will have impact on your future. Wash between your thumb and forefinger every time you clean your hands. Most of the bugs that make us unwell live there, you’ll prevent a great many colds and lost sick days.

This kind of small gain can have a knock on effect on your career, those sick days gained may mean you hit a target at work or are able to get to a big meeting with a client or interview.

The point is there are hundreds of small things like this which can have a huge impact on your career, recruitment is full of them. Here are my top three.

Lets take for example the growing phenomenon of mobile job applications. This has led indirectly to a growing impact of something that had been forgotten prior, the cover letter.

You see, we know on our side that most applications come in via swipe-and-apply.  43% of the traffic to this website you are reading comes from a mobile device. No problem, however mobile devices have poor document editing abilities and the cover letter went out of the window with them.

 Therefore the cover letter is fast becoming a marginal gain that differentiates you from the competition, and yes they are sent onto the clients.

By writing a directed cover letter to the job you are going for, you are making a no-cost marginal gain that differentiates you from the competition.

The second marginal gain is your voicemail now show of hands, how many know what their voicemail actually says? Thought so, me neither.

Call your voicemail and make sure it sounds professional and recorded in a quiet place giving clear instructions to the listener perhaps on when you will be free to return the call. Again a no-cost gain that takes less time than it does to brew a coffee. Combine this with a decent cover latter and – hey presto – you just made a great first impression without even picking up a call!

The third marginal gain is your writing. You may see advertised services like Grammerly who correct grammar, a fantastic idea. Writing poorly is again a by-product of using mobile devices. At time of writing my Android and Apple kit both do not seem to automatically make an “I” capitalised or begin sentences with capital letters in all cases where it’s appropriate. Again this stuffs important, I know it’s a pain hitting the shift key to just do an “I” … everyone knows what you mean - but bear something in mind…

Most business leaders went to school before the internet when Apple made cheery coloured computers and an Android was called Mr Data in Star Trek and nothing else. We were brought up noticing these errors, and don’t necessarily tie it to OS usage. Proof-read your next email backwards and you’ll spot this stuff.

So, three no-cost marginal gains to improve the job applications, cover letter, redo the voicemail and proof-read your emails backwards.

Good luck!