Your Career: Some Assembly Required

Have you ever purchased a piece of furniture such as a desk, book shelf or TV stand?  You know, the kind of furniture that comes in a very compact, very heavy box with a billion pieces, a 200-page instruction manual, and requires only a Phillips head screwdriver?  Some assembly required reads the box.  I’m laughing as I type this because I found myself in this very situation recently.  I finished the assembly in what seemed like fifteen hours (it might have been…I blacked out for a bit) and may or may not have had a few extra screws when I was done.

Some assembly required.  That got me thinking…

Those three words resonated with me as I thought about my career.  In fact, the concept can be applied to anyone.  Everyone’s career has some assembly required.  We have to make the choice to build something, work towards a goal.

To sum it up, here are a few observations:

Read the instructions.  Let’s admit it – we’re guilty of dumping out all the contents of the box, skipping past the instructions because assembly looks easy enough.  How many times has that actually worked out for you?  I have a jar of extra bolts and screws to prove my point.  In the job search, in your career, and in life, instructions are important.  Processes are in place for a reason.  Make sure you follow the instructions on how to apply for the job.  If the instructions ask you to submit additional documents along with your résumé, do it.  Also, in the real world, deadlines are deadlines.  Aim to do what you need to do before the deadline.  99.9% of the time, you won’t get an extension.

Bring the right tools.  The butter knife can only do so much as a flat-head screwdriver.  What happens when the screw is smaller than the knife tip?  It doesn’t work as well, does it?  Having the right tools in your toolbox can make all the difference.  In the job search, your tools could include knowledge of the company and their culture, your résumé, business card and elevator pitch to name a few.  Do you have the right tools?

Have a backup plan.  Have you noticed that on the last page of the instructions, there’s an 800-number just in case you have difficulty assembling the furniture?  Most will even include a website or phone number that will provide you with a service that sends someone to your home to complete the project.  In your job search and career, do you have a backup plan?  It’s important to know your options and what you could do if Plan A doesn’t work out.  This applies to everyday life, not just the job search.  Plan, plan, plan!

Never stop improving.  Sound familiar?  I borrowed that phrase from my friends at Lowe’s.  It’s very relevant to what we’re discussing here.  Never stop improving.  Keep moving forward and challenge yourself to do better every day.  Set the bar, jump over the bar, and then set the bar higher.

What are your thoughts on this topic?  I’d love to know.  Leave a comment below or share this via social media if you find this article to be of value.  As always, thanks for reading.  Have a great week!

PS. While we’re on the topic of assembly, here’s a great concept that IKEA started using to recruit qualified talent for their organization.  Check it out:


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