There is a lot of literature out there about how to get a job. Pretty sure if there was a do-it-yourself manual on how to get a job (and it actually worked) it would sell millions of copies. For me, it took a few years and thousands of rejection letters (See prior posts here and here) to land a good job. I’ve learned a lot from these experiences. If you and I were chatting over coffee, and you asked for my advice on how to get a job, here are the three simple secrets I would share:
(1) Stay positive. Rejection letters will come, but you must believe that offer letters will also come! Sure, you might say, but how can a person stay positive after hearing “no” so many times? I say staying positive is a choice you make each and every time you are faced with negativity. There are plenty of opportunities to exercise this power of choice. From the early morning when you overslept, burnt your breakfast, and dribbled toothpaste down the front of your shirt, to the bigger things like loss of a primary client account, major illnesses, and family issues. Stay positive. A positive outlook on life is crucial to getting a job offer. (Who wants to hire Ms. Debby-Downer or Mr. Gloom-Doom???) People will be attracted to your happiness and more eager to help you if you project positive energy.
(2) Foster gratitude. Along with staying positive is the advice to foster gratitude. I once read a quote that said “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; and remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”—or something like that. Maybe I didn’t have a job, or good health, or good friends or…whatever. By focusing, instead, on what I did have I was humbled to realize all of the blessings in my life. That feeling of entitlement (“I went to the best school, so I should get the best job!”) went away. I sincerely appreciated people taking time to talk with me about their firm, or offering to connect me with colleagues. As I fostered gratitude, my interviewers and contacts seemed to go to greater lengths to assist me. I have developed some wonderful professional relationship, and I attribute it to my conscious efforts at fostering gratitude.
(3) Be helpful. Last, but not least, be helpful. Wherever you are, whoever you are, there is something you can do to improve the world around you. My view is that a job—any job—should be about helping people. Being unemployed is hard, not just financially, but emotionally, on the self-worth level. I found that when I focused outward, and actively sought for ways to help people, I had a greater sense of my own worth and satisfaction with my life’s work (even the unpaid work). So, whether it was volunteering at a school, at my church, with neighborhood kids, or even offering my professional services to people who couldn’t afford to pay, I kept busy being helpful. A “be helpful” approach to each day not only kept my skillset sharp but it prepared me to handle my new job with a grateful and positive attitude.
Long-winded, but there you have my three simple secrets to getting a job: stay positive, foster gratitude, and be helpful.