It’s a tough world out there. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, for every job opening in 2009, there were 6.2 people unemployed. Today, that statistic has gotten better and is now 1.6 unemployed per job (5.4 million openings in April 2015.) Companies are seeking future leaders to take their organizations into the next era vs. hiring “butts in seats.” What does this mean? It means the competition is still fierce and you’ve got to have what it takes to land the job and succeed. Here are a few ways you can set yourself apart from the competition, laying the foundation for future success:
“If you fail to plan, plan to fail.” I’ve used my mother’s quote many times before and it still rings true. Plan for success, learning from your setbacks and failures.
Things to include on your plan’s checklist:
- Clear expectations
- Aspirational, yet achievable SMART goals
Share your plan
Prefer to do things on your own? That’s okay. There are advantages to being the lone wolf like being more aggressive or having more strength , but remember that once a wolf is driven from the pack, they may never rejoin a group again. Yes, they survive, but just barely and on much smaller food rations. Where am I going with this?? Share your success plan with your mentor, your teammates and your boss/potential boss. Get their input, adjust where needed and keep them updated throughout the process. Why?? Keeping your head down and working hard might not get you noticed. Don’t be a jerk about it, but toot your own horn now and then!
You have the plan – follow it. Do what you say you’ll do. It’s that simple.
Have a sense of humor and SMILE
We get it. Work is work and sometimes, it’s not fun at all. But that doesn’t mean you have to have a miserable attitude, bringing everyone else down with you. See the positive side of things and smile – to yourself and to others. I’m finding myself smiling right now as I type this post. No one likes a grouch!
Be patient, tenacious but kind
Things take time. Whether it’s waiting on a response from an interviewer or an email from your boss regarding a big project you just submitted, realize that what seems like a lifetime of waiting for you may only seem like seconds to the other party. Don’t give up, though. Be tenacious but kind. Follow up when and where appropriate so you receive the response or input you need. I recently worked with a student who had his heart set on a particular internship with a top company. He did everything right – applied online, submitted his resume, followed up with a personalized thank-you note, reached out via LinkedIn and heard absolutely NOTHING from the recruiter despite every attempt to make contact. He didn’t get that job, but he didn’t give up. Another recruiter from another company remembered him (from his onsite impression and follow up) and offered him an even better internship for the summer. Don’t get so focused on what’s in front of you that you fail to see the bigger picture.
What did I miss? If you recently landed a job, how did you set yourself apart from the competition in a positive way?
I’d like to leave you with one last resource. An unofficial mentor of mine wrote this fantastic piece for LinkedIn: Work Hard, Be Kind. Check it out.
As always, thanks for reading.
3 thoughts on “Standing Out (In a Good Way)”
I think you have a very valid point! This article really spoke to me because you’re really right in that being more comfortable working alone isn’t necessarily a bad thing! It’s very much a unique skill that can be grown to become more collaborative and relationship based in the future. All great things are works in progress!