Total read time 13 minutes.

A few months back I wrote an essay about small advantages I have when I look for work. This applied to my line of work. Not all the things I shared apply for call center job application but I figure you can use it to improve yourself where ever you wish to go. So without further delay, here goes..

Whenever I get hired after competing for a job I want to say “ha ha take that that!” to the other applicants. In my past job application. I only applied at 4 companies and all 4 companies I applied in gave me an offer. The girl I was dating at that time told me that it’s a bad thing because it’s possible that I’m aiming too low.

I picked a young company I wanted to grow. I won’t compete for a job for a while so I’m giving you a list of advantages I have when looking for work.

I’m writing this to help people who’re having a hard time competing in the market. You won’t be competing with me anyway so I don’t worry about it but just in case you do, may the best person win. I don’t see you as competition mainly because we want different things. If we do get to compete I hope us competing would provide better stuff to the person we’re both trying to help. The market’s big enough for the both of us. After all I’m competing in a space where there’s not a lot of competition. I wish you were here too. To back that statement up I provided a list (some people would call my competitive edge) to help you enter. This list will grow. For now here’s what I have. Here’s what I can help you with. Here’s what I’d like to contribute. There will be more so stay tuned. I have a whole blog dedicated to helping you find work.

For now here’s my list of things that give me an advantage at work:

1. I can speak in English. Most Filipinos I know don’t want to hear me speak in English. Each interview I had was conducted in English. I didn’t have a problem with it because I try to speak in English whenever I can.

Not to impress people but to practice. I’m excited speaking to foreigners for some reason. I also have a few friends who don’t talk to me in the local tongue. I try to spend time and talk to them more. I try to look for friends to practice with some more.

I listen for errors with other people when other people speak. I take note of them and check if I make those errors. I watch mostly English movies and read English books.

Most people I know don’t want to speak in English as a consequence they have to settle for jobs that pay for less than minimum wage and is always contractual. Job security is not dependent on what the company offers but on what you offer. I made this list to give you a better chance. There’s plenty enough off opportunities for us and I’ll tell you a secret. Most people read advice and don’t try it. Or they try it and look for reasons to give up. At work for another small company the others were picking on me for speaking to my clients in straight English. Turns out those guys were the ones previously assigned to my work but couldn’t get clients. I figure that’s because they weren’t used to speaking in English. There are a lot of things I couldn’t talk about. This is only part one but if you’re going to pick up something from me it’s should be that you need to learn how to speak in English well.

2. I read everyday. I only spent one year in college. I never graduated so I have this excuse to never stop learning. Comparing myself with others is a bad thing but every time I had to compete for a job I was always at an advantage over people I competed with even if they graduated from a nice school and have a diploma. I’m not afraid of high level competitors. In fact I’m excited to meet them. I read everyday. I’m updated with the current technology. I try to refine my personal philosophy. I collect ideas. What I collect gets processed and if I could use it to my advantage, I use it.

3. I spent one year in college.I know how to learn on my own. Like most people who didn’t finish college I also wasn’t able to as well because of financial reasons. I was living with my mom and she only had enough money at that time to pay for a year. I had to start working. My dad told me even security guards had to have two years of college education and additional training. My mom asked me to look for jobs at fast food chains. I didn’t want that approach and I wasn’t willing to settle. I looked for work in a call center and when I had difficulty, I landed a temporary job in sales (which I got as an experiment and at the same time it was the first offer I got). I eventually moved to BPO’s, Call Centers and eventually corporate sales. I know I was competing with graduates from top schools. I know I had to have an edge. At the time, I’m the only person I know who reads, who asks around, who experiments. I fail and succeed. Failing made me feel stupid at times. Failing also made me inferior. I learned a lot of stuff along the way. I read everyday (see number 2).

I couldn’t wait for someone to tell me what I need to learn. I’m always on the look out for new ideas. I add skills to my own. A person may find good jobs based on what school they do to, their field of study, their position and what they picked up at work. I also refused to be limited to that. I never graduated so learning never stops. I read on new topics, refine my current skills and experiment with what I have. At my own cost. There are more ways than ever to learn and grow and it’s ideal to work on a project after work. For learning and possibly more profit. My martial arts background helped me in an interview because my potential boss was interested. Seeing failed companies in person gave me insight and access to free resources that I could offer to new employers. I account skills into short posts and lessons so I could pull it out to teach to others or to use for myself when needed. It’s a lot of work but so is what everybody else is doing but I see it as an advantage.

4. I know how to write. I had really bad communication skills. I talk without thinking. Sometimes it takes me a long time to process my thoughts. I know right. You won’t believe me. That’s the thing. I know I’m weak in this area and ideas clutter my head so I put it on paper (or my iPod touch or a text file). I just write.

Take out your phone and go to the messages. Try reading a message with your phone one inch close to your eyeball. Don’t worry I’ll wait. Come on try it. Pull out your phone now and try reading. It’s hard isn’t it? That’s how my thoughts are. That’s how my ideas flow. I do my best to pull it out of my head by putting it on paper. Then I write about it. I check for grammar errors and inconsistent thoughts. I look for cool stuff I could share. Most ideas suck but after writing I discover really useful ones along the way so I make it a point to write them regularly. I don’t just write essays and blog posts. I also write plans and budgets and stuff like that. If it looks good on paper I test it out in real life.

5. I have a website.I started minimal changes as my first blog.I wrote ideas and thoughts. I also put my profile there. Today, I have a new profile website. When I applied for an interview, my interviewers saw me as an expert with my topics because I was willing to put them in public. I can be scrutinized, hit by trolls, defamed and far worse things. It didn’t matter. The benefits far out weigh the cons. Everyone has a facebook page or a twitter or a tumblog. A site you own or a site under your name can make you Google-able. That’s a perk. A website like a person who owns his own home or this own business has a credibility boost. I can’t explain all the details now (maybe next time) but it’s all true. My favorite part was I built minimal changes to answer some questions that people ask me.

6. I know how to use a computer. Up til today I meet people who proudly say they don’t know how to use computers. More people I know only use a computer for facebook, email and twitter. Add me up while you’re at it. There are a lot of other awesome things you can do on a computer. You can set up online back ups using dropbox. If you use my link we both get 250mb of free space. You can learn to make a website. I built a my homepage from scratch using twitter bootstrap and jetstrap. Photoshop your pictures and make guys drool over you. If you’re a girl leave your drool worthy photos in the comments below. I drew cartoons with Adobe Fireworks. I play around with Google docs. It’s not just geeky stuff but despite that 90% of the people in the office don’t know this and it will make you a go to guy at work. It could even impress your boss. Read lifehacker for more tech tricks.

7. I’m not really a corporate guy - Many people are set to think within corporate boundaries. I’m not. At times I openly oppose my boss to offer a better alternative. I did this a few times and for a few incidents me and my boss dominated certain niches because of unconventional thinking. In sales, I think of major decision makers as harmless. I ditch calling people by their formal titles and go for interacting on a first name basis. I make things casual. I don’t focus on sales but help whoever I’m talking to get what they want. These are small things but it helped a lot with what I do. My bosses forgave me as soon as they saw the benefit of my approach. Business is personal. We interact with people. People take things personally.

8. I’m willing to share my ideas. - Many people warn me about my blogs because I share too much ideas. They ask me how I would feel if somebody took ideas from my post and profit from it. I’d feel great if you ask me. I have an idea that works. I have an idea that helped a few people. That way I can let go of that idea and think of better ones. Blessings are like ideas. Whenever I let it flow instead of keeping them it contributes to others and I get better ideas. This generation of ideas help me process. I keep some and use them. The rest I share to others. People also see me as more credible, but I’m not after that. I’m just trying to get stuff out of my head and at the same time, help people without explaining to them in person. My first blog was put up to have my advice available without needing to repeat what I said over and over again. It also helps myself to be found online. My ideas are not all mine. I pick mine from reading, from advice, from combined ideas and experience. So I got it freely. Freely I receive and freely I give. I encourage you to do to.

9. I have some savings. - If you don’t have money it’s difficult to make the right decisions. Have a job that conflicts with your values and you have to leave? You’re free to go but what about the bills and the stuff you want to buy and stuff like that? You have an idea for a possibly profitable experiment. Won’t you need money for that? Having savings helped me fund the important projects in my life and I make sure to have them so it’s easier to make decisions. How much savings do you need? About six months worth of your salary is a good start. I’m currently aiming for a year’s worth of paychecks. Too difficult? See my next tip.

10. I’m a minimalist. - Here’s why I have savings. I’m a minimalist. I don’t need much to survive. Food, clothing, shelter, possibly transportation and budget for dates. I like going on dates so I need to be fully funded. Minimalism is simply freeing up (letting go) of the unimportant to make way for the important. Screw the car, the house, the luxuries, TV, fast food, cable TV, gadgets, nice phones, junk food, the watch, and a whole bunch of other things other people spend on. Check your expenses and look at the things you can live without. I also make it a point to live with less than 100 things I own. If you take all the unnecessary things away you’re left with resources to spare. Minimalism is about saying no so you have resources for what’s beautiful and what’s important. I write more about it in my blog Minimal Changes.

11. I worked in sales. - Most people are afraid of sales. I see sales as looking for a good partner. You have something to offer then you look for people who are looking for what you have to offer. Along the way you might have to explain why it’s a good match and that’s it. You get to do that by telling stories. You improve your stories by writing them down and looking for a better way to say it (Tip number 3). This experience helps when looking for work, finding deals, looking for a partner or convincing people to go your way. Say, you’re looking for so and so (features and benefits) in a/an (employee, partner, friend, direction, plan etc.). Guess what? I suggest you try (my recommendation) because (insert story). Does that make sense? Would you be willing to try it?

There you go. I hope it helps.

Here’s what you can do.

  1. Write your version of this essay and send me a link or post it in the comments below. Email me if you’re feeling shy.
  2. Tell me what tip you’ll be working on this week.

See you soon.

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Thank you for reading. If I can do it, you can do it. Praying for your success.