Divina de Campo certainly knows a thing or two about standing out from the crowd.
A glamorous combination of sequins, big hair and sparkling personality helped propel the star all the way through to the final of BBC reality TV hit RuPaul’s Drag Race UK in 2019.
But viewers might be surprised to know that Divina couldn’t always count on the extraordinary confidence that’s got her to where she is today. It is, she admits, something she’s had to work on. Going out dressed up for the first time as Christina Aguilera from the Moulin Rouge music video was, she says the turning point, giving her a feeling of “absolute freedom”.
Overcoming shyness and learning to show off one’s best self is something anyone can do, Divina says. Especially when it comes to nailing an all-important job interview and leaving an unforgettable impression with a future employer.
“A job search can be just like a drag show,” says Divina. “To wow those judges and put yourself ahead of the competition, you need to showcase your best self so that they see how fabulous you really are. Having been around the block a few times I can tell you that, unless you’re applying to be a spy, ‘blending in’ is a big no-no!”
Standing out in the job market is more important than ever right now. New research commissioned by BT reveals that the average UK jobseeker has been rejected from 16 roles during the past year, with 44 percent admitting it had affected their self-confidence.
And with the effects of the Covid-19 crisis leading to fewer vacancies than this time last year and significantly more applicants, it’s not surprising that over half of people say they have kept job applications a secret from friends and family.
Now BT has launched Stand Out Skills as part of its Skills for Tomorrow initiative, which aims to help 10 million people in the UK make the most of life in the digital world and stand out in the job search.
Stand Out Skills is now offering free online support to jobseekers of all ages with unmissable advice and resources to help rebuild confidence.
BT is posting new information every day on its social channels and the bt.com/StandOutSkills website, with a weekly focus on different areas of the job search.
Along with Divina, BT has recruited Countryfile presenter Anita Rani and comedian Iain Stirling to give inspirational advice across different stages of the job search – from standing out in the application process, grabbing attention with your CV and breaking the ice in an interview.
Above all, says Divina, it’s about being yourself. “Work out who YOU want to be, not what you think will impress someone, or what you think they want you to be,” adds Divina. “It needs to be you – your marvellous, gorgeous, sensational self!
“Think about how you want to get your message across – everything says something about you, how you dress, how you describe yourself, even how you sit. People may not recall exactly what you said but you’ll have made an impact if they remember how you made them feel.”
Entering RuPaul’s Drag Race UK was like being in the Olympics of drag, adds Divina, and she wanted to see where on the race track she’d finish. And she’s in no doubt – putting herself out there and being memorable helped her make it to the final, and can be the key to success when looking for a new job.
“That’s why I’m over the moon to be a part of BT’s Stand Out Skills campaign, which will give you everything you need to stand out from the crowd, like me, and shine in your job search from beginning to end.”
BT placement gave me the experience I needed
Through its Skills for Tomorrow programme, BT is helping 10 million people to make the most of life in the digital world. It’s completely free and designed to help everyone – from school children and teachers to parents and those with no or low digital skills, as well as job seekers and small businesses. Through it, BT has helped thousands of people like 23-year-old Ross to get into work. He explains how…
“I grew up playing football. I was lucky enough to do my hobby professionally for four years. I even moved to the States to play and to study.
“But when I returned to the UK, I didn’t have any work experience. I applied for the BT Work Ready programme, which is part of the Skills for Tomorrow initiative, via Indeed.com. I was already looking for BT apprenticeships, because I’d applied to be an Openreach engineer. I’d got through the tests and I was waiting to hear back. So I saw this as an opportunity to learn more about the company and develop my skills.
“I enjoyed shadowing an engineer as well as the training I received. I got lots of practical hands-on experience.
“I’d recommend the Work Ready programme as it’s a great way of showing potential employers you’re dedicating your own time to take part in something that will enhance your skills.
“I loved my experience with the programme. It was great as I had no experience of work before as I played football full-time, and when it didn’t work out I didn’t have a back-up plan. It helped get me ready for applying for jobs by helping me write my CV and get prepared for interviews.”