Published on Forbes 7/23/2014
There is a difference between a job that pays the bills and a fulfilling career. We wondered why the distance between our job and our dreams is often so wide.
The world has changed, technology has been revolutionized several times over, and yet our hiring process still resembles the way it was back in the 1970s. Little has changed in how we post, apply, and interview for jobs on or offline.
Perhaps the first step in creating extraordinary work places is to rewrite the rules of engagement for gaining meaningful employment.
We have written about how our company, Fishbowl, abolished managers, meetings, and performance reviews. One of the comments we received was, “What do you do all day without these things?” and we responded with, “We work! We still make mistakes, but we love it because we are always getting better.”
You might be surprised by our suggestions for landing the job of your dreams. But since transforming the hiring process and the creating extraordinary work places will require a few years to catch up, here are a few of our team’s ideas that may open up a few new possibilities for you.
Find your dream job by using these unconventional tactics.
1. Apply for jobs that are never listed...by connecting with extraordinary people from all walks of life.
Most of the really great jobs are filled before companies even think to post them on Craigslist or other job sites. Overall, the interviewing process is tedious and if 50 people interview, 49 are going to be deflated and only one elated. How many times have we interviewed for a job we knew was not right for us and yet we were still devastated when we weren’t called back for the next round? It’s like a beauty pageant gone terribly wrong.
Become friends with people who work in companies you’re interested in. Enjoy learning about them and supporting them. Don’t be surprised when they call you up and ask you to join them when a new position opens up or refer you to an open position at another great company. Networking opens new doors all the time.
2. Skills always win...yes, even over likability, charisma, and charm.
Develop mastery in your chosen profession so you will continue to create job opportunities throughout your entire life. Companies will always need people who can deliver strong results. Great companies hire good people who are willing to learn and who are not afraid to educate themselves. There is a wealth of learning available to you – on and off the Internet.
3. Don’t rely on your résumé...too much.
A résumé is a good first step to get your foot in the door and describe what you’ve accomplished in your career. But showing is better than telling. Create a portfolio that represents who you are and what you stand for, which you can add to LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Those are the places where hiring professionals will go to check you out, anyway.
4. Don’t focus primarily on money...if you’re really good, it will find you.
Discover the work that calls out to you and start doing it. If you’re just in “the game of work” for the money, title, and illusion of power, you’ll never feel completely satisfied or fulfilled.
Here’s a great example of someone who keeps money in a healthy perspective: We know a young man who loved building websites. He loved it so much he quit school and built them from dawn until late in the evening just about every day. Each project led to another. He had so much work that he started hiring “helpers.” Today, he operates a successful Web development firm and he still builds websites. He hired “a suit,” as he calls her, to take care of the “biz” so he can continue to do what he was born to do.
5. Don’t quit your day job...while you are working on discovering what you want to do.
Your time before and after you go to work belongs to you. A company doesn’t own you; just the time you put into it. Having more than one job for short periods of time, contrary to popular belief, won’t burn you out. Worry, stress, and lethargy take a bigger toll in the long run.
Also, if you have a day job you don’t have to worry about failing or going hungry since you have a steady stream of money coming in. Eventually, you may need to take the next step and leave your old job behind in favor of your new one. But until then it’s nice to have a safety net. Be grateful for that net and don’t shortchange it.
6. Demonstrate genuine gratitude in your current position...no matter where you are working.
Gratitude is an excellent trait to master. Most people enjoy working with grateful, humble, genuine people who give their all. Do the absolute best you can and if you’ve been slacking a bit, go the extra mile to build better habits before seeking that dream job.
Keep in mind that happiness generally has little to do with a job. Happiness is a choice. Neither your boss nor your company can make you happy. One of the happiest people I know works at a grocery store. She brings joy with her to the job. She always has something kind to say to everyone waiting in line to check out.
7. Get off social media and back in the game of work...because social media is a tool, not a job.
Once you upload your credentials, get back out into the real world. Limit your time on social media to a few minutes a day at specified times, such as before going to work, during your lunch break, or at home in the evening. Social media isn’t a job, it’s a tool. A contractor doesn’t live for his hammer. He or she puts it to work building things.
“You will never do anything in this world without COURAGE. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor,” said Aristotle.
We can use technology to remotely learn about companies and jobs. Our question...could we be doing more? Is it time to create a new way to find the right job and build a meaningful career? “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations,” said Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American female astronaut.
If you love writing – write.
If you love designing beautiful spaces – design away.
If you want to build a software app – go ahead!
The choice is ultimately yours. Don’t waste your time, regardless of where you are working. Focus it and manage it wisely because it’s more important than money. It’s one thing you can never get back, replace, or buy more of.
Pause for a moment and take a long look at your hands. What is the work they are meant to do? Part of the joy of living is finding that out. Enjoy the journey and keep us posted.