Want to be hired? This is how to Sugar-coat a CV


Next week sees the final of this year's series of The Apprentice with Lord Sugar making the big decision on who deserves to go into partnership with him and scoop the £250,000 investment. Contrary to popular belief, the past few weeks have not been a battle to find the most childish, incompetent, selfish young businessperson in the country. Slowly but surely, the candidates with a modicum of business sense have come to the fore. But what are the qualities that will get you a job/business partnership with Lord Sugar? We have looked back over 10 years of The Apprentice to find the do's and don'ts. Follow these, brush up your CV and you might just end up being hired…

1. Be Like Lord Sugar

Back in 2005, the first hopeful contestants went up against each other for the prize of a £100,000 job with the then Sir Alan Sugar. People often recruit in their own image and this certainly seemed to be the case here. Sugar chose transport manager Tim Campbell because, he said, Campbell reminded him of his own East End self. Bad news for the first ever Jewish contestant, James Max, who clearly did not remind Sir Alan of his Jewish self. Investment banker Max was complimented on having the best CV but was shlepped out of the process because Sugar did not believe he actually needed the job.

2. Don't be too aggressive

The star of this second series was 27-year-old sales manager Ruth Badger, who bulldozed her way through the competition - her blunt, West Midlands accent and her direct approach to sales meant that, by the end of the process, "The Badger" had become a household name. All of this was just a bit too much for Sugar, who despite his own straight-talking approach, decided that Ruth was a bit on the direct side and that canny self-made Hull lass Michelle Dewberry deserved the £100,000 position. This did not put the Badger off. She soon crashed her way into her own daytime TV show, Badger or Bust

3. Have some childcare in place before you apply

"Global brand consultant" Katie Hopkins was one of The Apprentice's more memorable characters – her duplicity and cunning made her reality TV's greatest baddie since Big Brother's Nasty Nick. However, Sugar was a fan and he had named Hopkins as a finalist. But she decided to pull out of the process telling a decidedly unimpressed Sugar that she had forgotten to ask her parents whether they would be happy to look after her young children while she was at work. So if you have children, best to make that phone call before the series starts.

4. Know the difference between kosher and halal

Self-proclaimed "nice Jewish boy" Michael Sophocles went through series four by playing on his heimishe roots in the hope that Sugar would see something of his younger self in the 25-year-old telesales executive, His plan came spectacularly off the rails, however, when the contestants were sent to Marrakech to purchase a number of items - among them, a kosher chicken. Sophocles seemed to have no idea what constituted a kosher bird and ultimately asked a halal butcher to bless his chicken in order to make it kosher. Miraculously he survived the boardroom only to come a cropper four episodes later.

5. Turn up for the start
of the show

Mobile phone entrepreneur Adam Freeman seemed to have it all going for at the beginning of series five. Not only was he young and successful, he was Jewish and lived only a mile from Sugar's mansion, which meant that Sugar might have seen something of himself in Freeman (see rule 1 above). However when it came to the crunch, Freeman decided that he could not face being apart from his wife and young children for three months so he withdrew just before filming started. Sugar was showed his usual level of compassion. Freeman had "bottled it" he remarked. Let's hope they don't meet at shul.

6. Don't advocate
child labour

Communications expert Alex Epstein was shown the door by Sugar for a complete inability to communicate. His cleaning product and the TV advert designed to sell it were condemned by industry experts because he associated his Germ-o Nator brand with a young child. Karen Brady called it "a terrible idea" and Epstein, rather than cleaning up, was ejected from the boardroom

7. You don't have to win tasks if your business plan is good

Series seven winner Tom Pellereau proved that this was a process which could be won without appearing to be particularly successful. Inventor Pellereau lost eight tasks out of 11 including the first five. He also never won as project manager. Conversely, runner-up Helen Milligan won 10 out of 11. However, the format was changed for this series. Instead of offering the winner a £100,000 job, Sugar was for the first time investing £250,000 in the winner's business plan. With his eye for a profit, Sugar identified Pellereau, not as the shlemiel everyone assumed him to be but as a creative and innovative businessman.

8. Name yourself after
a Latino pop idol

Richard Martin deliberately named himself Ricky after the eponymous singer and was ridiculed not just for that but also for his self-importance. At various times during the show he labelled himself "the reflection of perfection" and the incarnation of Thor, the Norse thunder god. If that wasn't bad enough, in his interview, Martin's personal statement was described as "crass, obnoxious and infantile". However, Sugar was not put off. He liked Martin's business plan for a recruitment company specialising in science and technology appointments and his hunch seems to have paid off. Two years on, Martin's company is flourishing and Lord Sugar is no doubt living the vida loca on the back of it.

9. Pay attention to
your power point

Lord Sugar came close to hiring Luisa Zissman but she was let down by her final presentation, a poorly written business plan and Sugar's doubts over her commitment to their joint venture, However, there was a happy ending for Zissman, the cup-cake queen. Last year, she was appointed to the executive board of Jewish charity Laniado.

10. Remember who
you're talking to

"Multiple business owner" James Hill turned out to be one of the most unintentionally funny contestants in the show's history. The self-confessed Del Boy businessman went from one crass statement to another. Fortunately for him, Lord Sugar saw something of himself in Hill (see rule 1 above) but ultimately he endured one disaster too many. While attempting to secure a lucrative contract to sell hot tubs, Hill repeatedly addressed the business owner as "Derek" rather than his actual name of Anthony.

Having lost the deal, Hill lied to his team-mates that he had changed his mind and decided to sell lawn mowers instead. Sugar decided enough was enough and "with regret" fired Derek... er I mean Del Boy.

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