Posted by: careerworks | October 25, 2010

Great Advice for Job Seekers

I read a post this weekend by Rohit Bahrgava, who attended a talk given by Jim Collins (author of Good to Great) at the recent World Business Forum. Mr. Bahrgava came away with six points that business owners should use to improve their business. I was struck by how those same six ideas apply to most job seekers.  Here is my attempt at adapting those six thoughts.

1.  Run a pocket of greatness. Too many job seekers try to expand and do too many things well. If you know that you are the best at something, then focus on that and make it into what Collins called your “pocket of greatness.” When you do this, you have something that you can build from. Without it, you can lose focus.

2.  Double your questions to statements ratio. This is a slightly mathematical way of making the point that you need to ask more questions instead of using bold declarations. When you ask more questions, you force yourself into the mindset of thinking about how you will actually do something and what the barriers might be. It’s an essential step towards achieving anything.

3.  Spend less time trying to be interesting and more trying to be interested. Conventional wisdom focuses on trying to help us find more ways to be interesting. The problem with focusing too much on oneself is that you may be missing out on learning opportunities or leads or even just highly useful conversations if you aren’t listening for them. So try to spend more time being interested in the people that you meet and ask them questions instead of focusing on yourself. You may be surprised with what you will find.

4.  Turn off your gadgets and create white space. As Collins talked about turning off your gadgets, you could see the people in the audience shifting uncomfortably and the ones who had been checking their Blackberrys or iPhones look up. Putting away your gadgets and being disconnected is hard, but if you can do it then you create essential time on your calendar every week just to think about your search and what  you should be doing.

5.  Create a STOP doing list. Most of us have a to do list, but how many of us have a list of things that we should STOP doing? This is exactly what Collins suggested: prioritize by clearly thinking about the things that may be wasting your time right now and need to stop doing.

6.  Read beyond your field. One of Collins’ most surprising habits was that he says he reads 100 books unrelated to business every year. This helps him to expand his vision beyond the world of business and think about other areas. It gives him an essential sense of the world and what is happening, as well as ideas that he can apply to his business and for the organizations with which he works. The same principle can work for you.

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