For some, getting a job (much less the right job) has never been more difficult. They struggle with knowing how to navigate in a complicated, noisy world where the global job market is messy and very competitive. For others, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in the job market, because finding the perfect position never seems to present a challenge. The latter group knows a few secrets the former group has yet to discover.

To the chagrin of many, finding the perfect job has little to do with luck, timing, resources, or pedigree. I’ve known those with little or no education who have engineered extremely successful careers, while I’ve witnessed others who seemingly have everything going for them fall far short of their expectations.

The difference between those who succeed in the workplace and those who don’t come down to little more than focused effort and attention.

Whether you’re looking for a new job, advancing your existing career, or changing careers, there is a particular hard truth that must be understood. If you don’t proactively manage your career, don’t be surprised if you end up with something less than what you desire. Put simply, a career in stealth mode is not a career that’s going anywhere, or at least not anywhere quickly.

While workplace performance is clearly important, it’s not always enough to be heard above the noise. Let me be clear, I’m not recommending you apply a form over substance approach to the management of your career, but I am suggesting you learn how to position yourself, to advocate for yourself, and to have others advocate on your behalf.

The secret sauce to finding the perfect position is made up of a six-part recipe:

  1. Focus & Understanding: you must have a realistic understanding of who you are, what you’re capable of, and what it is you want;
  2. Careful Planning: smart people don’t act in a vacuum – they develop the right approach to managing their career in accordance with their desired outcomes;
  3. Commitment & Sacrifice: successful people don’t make excuses – they are willing to make the financial investments and time commitments necessary to set themselves apart;
  4. Leadership: great success is reserved for those who have great leadership ability. If you cannot lead yourself well most employers will not give you the chance to lead others.
  5. Service & Support: those who achieve great things don’t go it alone – they put themselves in a position where others want to help them succeed. They do this by being a person of character who is trusted to do the right thing.
  6. Execution: performance matters – successful people don’t just deliver what’s expected, they contribute far beyond expectations.

Failing to do any of the 6 items mentioned above will only gate your potential and limit your chances for success. However if you’ve performed well in your current capacity, and you’ve managed your personal and professional affairs properly, it’s likely you won’t have to conduct a job search – the next position should come to you. Other than their first job out of school most successful people I know have never had to look for work.

Executives with strong personal brands and professional reputations consistently receive solicitations for new opportunities. If you’re not being advanced in your current role, or other suitors are not consistently wooing you, then your personal brand needs work, and your career isn’t being properly managed.

In part two of this series I’m going to get very tactical and debunk some myths around the use of social media, the creation of a resume, and creating influence.

Remember, getting a job is never a challenge for those who know how to play the game. For those that don’t understand how to manage their careers getting a job always seems to be a challenge.


Follow me on Twitter @mikemyatt


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