Every day thousands of job hunters are online searching for quick answers and solutions to secure a new job. Too many don’t realise that they are just doing the same things everyone else is doing. I want to share with you some insights that HR professionals don’t talk about.
Most of my employed clients have ‘okay’ jobs – 9 to 5 jobs, they come back home, maybe do some other stuff, and do it all over again the next day. There’s nothing wrong with this. However, deciding to look for something new, they come to us pretty much doing the same thing all the other job hunters are doing.
But, there are others who are prepared to operate at a totally different level. Job hunters and career changers who understand that they can’t do what everyone else is doing if they want to have success.
Here’s what they understand that most people don’t.
They don’t go through the ‘front door’
I have learned that (all successful people) treat life, business, and success a bit like a nightclub.
There are always three ways in.
There’s the first door, where 99% of people wait in line, hoping to eventually get in. Then there is the second door (aka I am on the Guest List for VIPs or well-connected people) and then there is always, always … the third door. It’s the side entrance where you have to forget about the queue and what the others are doing, where you have to walk past some handicaps, maybe run down a dark sideway, climb over trash, maybe even crack a window, or sneak through the kitchen. But, there’s always a way in.
99% of all successful people out there don’t do what all the others are doing to ‘get in’; they all look for that third door.
Job Hunters with dreams have goals
There are so many things in life you take for granted, yet someone else might think it’s crazy and unrealistic.
What’s realistic for you is a fantasy for someone else. Getting a degree or even a PhD? There’s a guy out there whose family members never went to college, and thus he believes that’s unrealistic.
Working for a global company or a winner Start Up? There’s a women somewhere whose father and mother and most of the people she knows work in minimum wage jobs, and thus she believes that’s unrealistic.
Managing a million dollar business? There is a guy out there from an upper-middle class background, but he believes that owning or managing a million dollar business is unrealistic.
What’s realistic (and smart) is to work alongside the best in your field, read their books, listen to their interviews, study what they did to get where they are — and eventually, those unrealistic dreams will turn into your reality.
Everything is negotiable
There are so many things in life that we think are ‘non-negotiable’, but in reality we can totally get around it. For example, I applied for and got a business development role when I was 22 that required 3–5 years of experience and I had almost zero (I was still in Uni at the time).
My point is this. Apart from jobs in academic professions and those requiring specific standards or qualifications, like medicine or law, job requirements are largely negotiable. You just have to prove that you can bring value to the table.
If you are too afraid or not willing to break the rules a little bit, then you may be at peace and, I agree with you, that you have followed the rules, but you will also usually end up wasting many more months job hunting and wasting your time and money trying to achieve a goal that you could have achieved with a lot less.
Imposter syndrome is not a bad thing
Many of my clients ask me why some groups of people are more successful than others. I have learned that the biggest reason for this is socio-cultural. The groups that are more successful than others tend to have 3 common characteristics:
- A superiority complex
- Some insecurity, or a gut feeling that they are not good enough at what they do
- Impulse control
The combination of: believing that you can obtain almost anything and get to wherever you want to be; having discipline; and being somewhat insecure about where you are currently at, is the formula for a successful, impactful career. I always strongly suggest to my clients to embrace and take advantage of that feeling of insecurity, without being ruled by it.
Just skill is not enough to make a career
So many job hunters believe that if they just get good enough at their craft, then everything else will fall into place. To some extent, that is true. Being great at what you do does matter, but it is not enough! You need much more than that. You need to know how to navigate the world of employment, career and business. You need to figure out how to add value outside of your role. You need to figure out what your company needs, and give it to them. You need to figure out how you can add true value — even if they don’t tell you what it is.
Stop obsessing about pay and company size
If you want to be more than just good at what you do, the averages don’t matter.
I always smile when people say things like “artists don’t make money.” I’ve sold paintings of mine on the side over the years for pretty good sums of money. I started my business from blog posts and email campaigns, helped over 15 000 people find jobs they love, and built a weekly blog audience of 16,000+ and over 20,000 email subscribers. And, I’m definitely not the only one and far from the most successful. On this journey, I definitely have not obsessed about pay or company size.
When it comes to any field, the people who strive to be great at what they do tend to have more than enough success. Do what you enjoy doing, and be great at it. Everything else will come.
Stop obsessing about the company – instead work for the right boss
So many of my clients believe that if they just get a job at a company like Google or Atlassian, then they’ll be set for life. What an illusion. Having the right mentor and/or manager is the real key.
Not only will you learn a lot more by just by being around successful people and by having great manager, you’ll also get into their ‘inner circle’ if you can prove that you have what it takes.
The real education begins after you’ve collected your degree
I am always amazed how often clients tell me that they think they were “done with studying” the moment they collected their Cert IV or degree in XYZ. In reality, everything you’ve learned in class is just preparation for the real world. Your education shouldn’t stop there. Successful people regularly read and search for content and news. They go to conferences. They read research online and offline. They talk to other people who are doing successful things. That’s how they connect the dots and use the newly gained learnings and insights to land more opportunities.
Leverage your knowledge – give two, ask one back
“Exposure is leverage.” After you accomplish something great professionally, go online and write about it. Help someone who was once in your shoes and is trying to figure things out. Exposure builds credibility. The bigger the audience you have, the more people will take you seriously.
Don’t outsource your career to your employer
Most people think that working at a place like Maccas or 7-Eleven is objectively bad, while working at a big brand business will be better in terms of obtaining future success. But in reality, a company is only as good as you make it.
For someone who wants to study the operations of the business, the logistics, management strategies, etc to open a franchise business later on, then working at a convenience store like 7-Eleven might be an incredibly valuable experience.
No job is objectively good or bad. It’s what you make of it.
Great opportunities don’t happen by taking the same approach everyone else takes, especially if you are hunting for a new job or planning that next career change. That’s not how it works.
The name of the game is noticing the ‘unspoken rules’ around you, and giving people what they want before they have to ask you. That’s how you win. Just remember to hunt wisely!