I wanted to take a break this week from exploring the world of work to share four critical elements in landing a really great job. Not just a job, job. But a job that you will be excited to wake up to each morning.
The first step towards reaching that goal is gaining a thorough knowledge about yourself and developing a vision for your future based on that self-knowledge. After you have taken the time to thoroughly discover who you are and why you are motivated to work, and after you have explored different occupations and developed a vision for your future, then you need to develop a game plan for bringing that vision to reality.
I like to visualize the four critical game plan elements that lead to landing a great job as tires on a car – the car runs best and is most efficient and effective when all four tires are inflated and in good condition. You can get by when one or two of the tires is a little low, but when one tire is missing, you are out of luck.
The same thing goes for your career game plan. You want to be intentional about addressing and incorporating all four of these E’s:
- Education, training, technical skills – These will vary depending on the career path you are pursuing, but there are basic requirements for each occupation. It may be a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Associate’s degree, or a specialized certificate of training. There might be specific skills required such as being proficient in certain computer programs. Know what the requirements are and develop a plan for obtaining them. I will add that especially for new grads or those early in their career your GPA is an important part of this equation. Often companies, especially in the business sector, won’t consider someone with less than a 3.0.
- Experience – Every job comes with certain experience expectations. Internships are a key way that college students can gain some of this critical experience. If you don’t have direct work experience for a career path you are pursuing, seek out an internship or even a volunteer position to gain needed transferrable experience.
- Emotional Intelligence, people skills, “soft skills” – This category is absolutely essential, often the biggest deal breaker of them all. Your perceived trustworthiness, likeability, and how well the employer thinks you will fit into the company culture and get along with other employees is absolutely critical in their decision to hire you. It is critical that you know how to work well on a team, get along with a wide variety of people, are empathetic, have good listening skills, and good manners. It is essential that you know how to manage your own emotions, to communicate clearly and act professionally no matter how you are feeling. It is incredibly important to develop the ability to set effective goals and the motivation to implement them. You need to be able to adapt to change with grace, and think clearly and solve problems under pressure. These emotional intelligence skills can be learned, no matter your natural bent, so be intentional about incorporating their development into your game plan.
- Effective skills in networking, interviewing, resumes – These are critical skills in landing that great job. Most positions are secured through who you know, so it is essential to develop effective networking skills. You also need to learn how to write a concise and relevant resume that is focused for each position you are applying for. It is all about meeting the employer’s needs, so tailor your resume and cover letter to show that you are the one that can help them achieve their goals. In addition you need killer interviewing skills. Check out this slide share where a hiring manager shares some great tips.
Don’t skip developing any of these four elements, and you will be well on your way to landing that great job.
To your success-