It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations” – Winston Churchill
I like reading.
The trouble is, I only like reading one or two sentences at a time. I like to get that witty quote and then use it to convince people I’m more erudite than I am. For those like me, this blog will be totally useless but, for those with a longer attention span, I hope to help you.
How you ask (if you haven’t read the title). Well, I have discovered that, whilst the internet is full of advice on interviews from every perspective. From candidates at the same company, recruiters, hiring managers, well-meaning people with some time on their hands, the list goes on but I find a dearth of content providing advice on everything before the interview. That’s what I’m going to do, with the help of my fortune cookie wisdom and the words of better men than me.
“Don’t wait, the time will never be just right” – Napoleon Hill
Author of one of the bestselling self-help books of the 20th century, Napoleon Hill is one of the most fascinatingly weird people of all time. When you’ve finished this blog, go read about him. It will not disappoint.
Anyway, the actual point here is that life is complicated. A juggling act of epic proportion and if you try and get everything lined up just so before looking for the right job, you’ll never get anywhere.
As the old proverb goes, if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. Sometimes you just have to make a decision and not let life get in the way of the life you want.
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well” – Martin Luther King Jnr
I hesitate to bring Doctor King into a light hearted internet blog but, his command of language is such that I had to include this quote.
Fundamentally, we have to do what we are good at. You can find, plastered all over the internet quotes telling you to dream big. As you should. But there aren’t many people out there saying you should do what you can do. I want to be clear, I am not saying you shouldn’t have dreams, but the dream job is seldom where we end up. I will never play for Liverpool. Should I spend my life in the pursuit of the impossible, or trying to squeeze what I can out of the talents I do have?
“All I ever wanted was an honest week’s pay for an honest day’s work” Sergeant Bilko
Be realistic. It’s a simple message but, if you are a graduate, you can’t possibly apply for a role that requires 5 years’ experience. Even if you have done a placement year. And if you want to earn huge salaries, you have to earn them. After all, “the world owes you nothing, it was here first” – Mark Twain
“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going” – Beverly Sills
Now you’ve decided to start looking for that next job and you’re being realistic, it is vital that you put the work in. I cannot tell you the number of applications I get to roles where it’s clear the applicant hasn’t read a single word of the job ad.
It is tempting in the modern world (said as if I wasn’t 25) to simply go on job boards and apply for every job with the right job title, I get it and I’ve done it but we all know that’s not how it should be done. Don’t let convenience stand in your way.
If you’re looking for a job you want, you have to assume there are hundreds of other people out there who have the same ambition so to stand out, tailor your CV. Believe me when I say, it is easy to spot a CV someone has written for this job vs a catch all CV they’ve sent to 50 different companies.
Do your research, pick the jobs and the companies you want to apply to (5 or 6) and write a CV for each job. They won’t be wildly different but they will be just that little bit more, and in that little bit is everything.
“Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill
There isn’t much in life more painful than putting in hours of work, making an application, preparing for multiple interviews, giving presentations and everything else that comes with the territory of getting a new job only to be told, that you’re not good enough or, even worse somehow, that someone else was better than you.
It’s like asking out the hot girl at school only for her to laugh and show up a week later on the arm of your best friend. It cuts deep but we have to keep going, all the way, for “The road to success is littered with failures, but the lessons learned are crucial in plotting your course” – Kristi Loucks
A final piece of advice.
I give this little nugget because it did come up in a recent interview in which a candidate didn’t get a role because he was rude to the receptionist. “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good” – Malcolm Forbes.
So be nice, from the minute you walk through the door to the minute you leave. Then you can go back to being yourself, “unless you can be Batman, then always be Batman” – Bill Murray.
If you made it all the way to the end, well done. I hope this little blog has somehow helped you in your search and I will leave you with possibly the wisest quote on this page.
“If you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now, quiet! They’re about to announce the lottery numbers” – Homer Simpson