Most of us hesitate to share our deepest, most inspired career desires out loud.
It makes sense. Sharing what we want is risky.
We risk failure: “What if I tell someone I want to be X, and then it never works out? I’ll feel like a total flop.”
We risk rejection: “What if I say it out loud and people laugh, or tell me it’s not possible or that I’m not good enough?”
We risk our identity: “Everyone knows me as X. So I’d better be 100% sure of what I want before I start telling people about it.”
We risk our time and energy: “Once I say it out loud, it would sure take a lot of work to follow through and make it happen…”
But for all this risk, the bigger risk is NOT sharing our dreams. Because only once you share a dream out loud can the universe start conspiring to help you achieve it.
Sometimes I think back to past interviews… and all I can do is put my head in my hands and shake it back and forth while I wish the embarrassing memory away. Can you relate?
One memory in particular makes me cringe every time I play it back.
Nailing the interview starts to feel a whole lot less scary once you're exceptionally prepared. And that means being prepared to tackle each of these most-common interview questions with the NSC interview response formula:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why are you interested in working for us?
- Why are you looking for a new job / why do you want to leave your current organization?
- What are your strengths?
Tribe: On Homecoming & Belonging by American journalist, author and filmmaker Sebastian Junger is rich with story and fact, and I highly recommend reading it in full (~150 pages). In this brief summary, I share the main points that continue to stick with me, and how lessons from Tribe apply to today’s job seekers.
Every day I see job seekers with LinkedIn headlines or even resume summaries that start out like this:
In between jobs…
In fact, almost 1 million LinkedIn members are using these headlines to try and land their next gig right now.
But this approach is a huge mistake for two very important reasons:
The job search often feels like a black box -- you have no idea which inputs actually get noticed and make a difference in getting you that job offer.
But while the complex process of applying, networking and interviewing for jobs does require a strategic approach, I'm happy to share my four favorite phrases that quickly cut through the noise and dramatically improve my clients’ job search results.
In this article I share the four phrases -- and more importantly, the mindsets beneath them -- that drive not only job search success, but career success.
Most people don’t know what exactly they want to do with their careers. Even among leaders at Harvard Business School, fewer than 20% report having a strong sense of their career purpose.
Yet the perspective I consistently hear from job seekers (and that I have been pressured to feel in my own career) is that we are all born with one innate career purpose. And that if we just look hard enough or in the right places, we will find it. And that once we find it, we will be happy in our careers for all eternity.
This is quite simply the worst career advice out there. It’s not reflected in the numbers. It’s certainly not empowering to the 80% of us who don’t have that one career goal in mind. And most importantly, it’s not grounded in the reality that we are constantly changing people in a constantly changing world.
A metaphor I like to use for all the “innate purpose” and “follow your passion” advice is Michelangelo’s David.
The goal of my work is to get people inspired to dream big about their careers, and to help them follow the step-by-step path to landing their dream job.
But I must confess that the biggest mind-shift most of my clients experience while working with me or participating in my Land Your Dream Job course is this:
We achieve happiness in our careers not when we ‘get it all’, but rather when we recognize what’s most important to us, and optimize for that.
Every day I speak with professionals eager to find happiness at work. And I ask everyone the same first question: “What does happiness at work mean to you; what does it look like?”
If you’re like most people, your response goes something like this:
To stay or not to stay. Is that the question?
Oftentimes professionals fall into the trap of viewing finding a new job as an all-or-nothing decision: “Either I stick with the status quo, or I try for something better. What to do?”
Sadly, framing the question in this way leads to indecision that can drag on months or even years, because we’re searching for perfect clarity (or waiting for a perfect gig to fall in our lap) before we take action.
But you can’t think or wait your way out of career indecision. It just doesn’t work. It takes more action -- and less thinking -- to either land that next job or come to a place of peace in your current one.
What you should be asking yourself is, “What small action could I take today to move my career in the right direction?”
It’s the end of the year, which means most of us are focused on getting out of the office -- and getting into our comfiest pajamas to celebrate the holidays with family and friends.
But before you turn off your office lights and drive home to the tune of Bing Crosby’s ‘Happy Holidays’ (I can hear him crooning now...), here are 3 questions I recommend asking yourself to make sure you close out the year strong and set yourself up to hit the ground running next year.