It has been three months since truck-sized CV winner James Pemblington won our competition. And it is fair to say his CV went somewhat viral. James’ story was picked up by major media networks in the UK and around the world. This included coverage on ‘The Daily Show’, a popular US talk show with around 2 million viewers in the US alone. It became clear that James’ search for work struck a chord with many, with the story’s positivity proving people with a welcome break from the doom and gloom of the pandemic.
The results of the competition were almost instant, with James receiving a job offer less than one week after we put his giant CV on the back of a lorry. James was hired on a temporary contract, helping manage covid-19 testing sites in Nottinghamshire for Serco Testing Services. James smiles, calling the competition an “amazing experience” and admits he was a little taken aback by all the attention. He says, “I thought the truck would give me some good regional coverage, and perhaps even some national exposure. However, the amount of coverage it received here and overseas was a bit bonkers.”
James had created a website featuring his CV to help in his job search. Accustomed to seeing visits from people locally, he was amazed to see hits from countries afar as China, the US and Mexico. “Amazing and bizarre” James calls it. Regarding why his story and the competition proved so popular, James points to current events. He says, “It was great to be a part of the competition. For me, it helped serve as a positive distraction from being out of work during the pandemic. The positive energy it provided me was important. I think a lot of others related to my story and it proved a good break for people from everything going on.”
As well as helping James find a job, the coverage led to some other, more unusual opportunities. This included live internet interviews in the US and giving motivational speeches to UK students and jobseekers. Whilst not something James had done before he is eager to pass on his experiences to others. He says, “I saw how the positive energy of the competition and finding work helped me. I believe the importance of positive thinking when looking for work is massive. I did the voluntary motivational speaking because I wanted to pass on that message to others.”
Diana Campbell, managing director of Zoek, said, “The idea was to create some positivity for people who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and of course help someone find a job. The results were amazing. James found work really quickly and his story really seemed to resonate with people around the world. We are very proud to have helped James.”
Positivity key to success
Regarding his experience, what advice does our job seeker on the road to success have for current jobseekers? He says, “The key to job searching is remaining positive. I had hundreds of job rejections before finding work. It is important to remember these jobs are not rejecting you. It is not personal; you are just not the right fit for that role. There is a job out there that matches your skills. Sometimes you just have to work very hard to find it.”
James also advises tailoring a CV for each role. He adds, “I know it is hard work changing your CV for each role, but it’s really important. This is because you can match your skills and experience with those being asked for. Cover letters are also important, helping you stand out and allowing you to show your passion and say what you will bring to the company.”
The role James was offered and remains in is a bit different to his previous position. However, he has also found similarities between the roles, as well as seeing an advantage to coming at things with fresh eyes. James says, “Ensuring great customer care at all times in my new role is vital, as it was in my previous one. I have also found that coming from a different working background has me helped look at things differently. I believe this has given me an advantage and allowed me to contribute more.”
George McFarlane, head of operations for Serco Testing Services, speaks positively about James. He says, “James is a likeable and popular member of the team and has settled in well. He is dedicated and has shown the qualities that rightfully earned him praise for his initiative when trying to find a job during the pandemic. James’ positivity touched the hearts of many around the world and he is a credit to himself. We are delighted to have him onboard and playing an important part in running the Covid-19 testing centres that Serco manages on behalf of DHSC”.
What does the future hold?
Despite the role being temporary, James remains upbeat. He says, “Of course, I would like the position to be permanent, but I feel very fortunate. I really like working for Serco. Furthermore, its ethos and values are very positive and similar to mine.” Regarding the future, it is perhaps no surprise to learn James remains positive. He says, “I have been designing a series of physical escape rooms in my spare time. I have always had a passion for special effects, and providing people with fun, immersive experiences. This could be somewhere I look at in the future, but I remain very happy in my current role.”
Visit James to learn more about his story and read his CV for yourself.