There are lots of sucky jobs out there, but you don’t have to have one of them. Learn to master the 5 steps below and your chances of landing a job you actually like will increase dramatically.
1. Know people. We’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” If this is so true, though, then how come you spent 30 hours last week doing schoolwork… but you spent zip, nilch, nada hours networking and really getting to know people? Riddle me that. So how do you get to know people, you ask? Well, for one…
2. Be interesting. Because let’s face it: In order to know (the right) people, you have to have something to offer that the average Joe does not have. If you want to know, befriend, and work with interesting, passionate, happy people, then you best become one yourself. After all, when’s the last time you saw an awesomely interesting person hanging out with a boring clone who’s just like everyone else? Stop watching The Voice every night and go out and do something interesting instead. Start a project. Write a book. Help a cause. Hang swings in public places, for gosh sake. I don’t care what you do, as long as you do it with everything you’ve got. Because the world needs more interesting people who are full of passion. Hell, the world needs more interested people, too… which brings me to my next point:
3. Do informational interviews. Be interested in other people and they’ll become interested in you, too. Find a handful of people on Linked In or through your network who work in a role or for a company you’re interested in — or who are just plain cool. Ask them what they love about their work (or don’t love about their work) and what they love about their company (or don’t love about their company). Ask what it takes to be great at what they do, what keeps their bosses up at night and what skills & abilities are most valued in the industry. This won’t just help you discover whether you might enjoy a job or a workplace, but it’ll also help you…
4. Be a mind-reader. Know specifically what the employer wants — then sell it to ’em. The good thing is that you just got stellar insight into the employer’s needs from all the informational interviews you just did, right? Now lay it all out, get specific, and frame it from their point of view in terms of how you can solve their specific problems. NO ONE CARES that your objective is to “work in a fast-paced environment with room for growth and advancement!” Show them instead how you’ll increase sales, make a process more efficient, or otherwise solve the problems that keep them up at night. At the end of your interview, they should feel like they’ve just spoken with a mind-reader.
5. Look sharp. I hate to say it, but everything else you do may be for nill if you don’t look sharp doing it. Because let’s get real for a second here: Sure, it’s your depth that matters most… but people will never see your depth if they can’t get past your appearance in the first place. Books have covers, products have packaging (YES I DO buy the shampoo with the prettiest bottle), and humans have clothing and such things. The bottom line: First impressions matter, so dress like you mean it.
What’s your best tip for getting a job that doesn’t suck?
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[Image by kharied]