Finding the right job with enough money, fulfilment and time for leisure.
How to get the right
1. Follow the dream
- think about your ideal job and how you can get it.
- be realistic about your ability but remember hard work and
determination are just as important.
2. Think about what matters most to you
Promotion, autonomy, self-employment, creativity, recognition, power and status, money, responsibility,
challenge, variety, peace of mind, time for family and friends?
3. Know your strengths and avoid your weaknesses
Your job should use your strengths and avoid your weaknesses.
4. Knock 'em out with your covering letter, CV and application
- communicate with the right person.
- watch your spelling and grammar - make your
- get your message and successes across without being
- accept responsibility for your life - don't blame others for
- be positive and confident - highlight your
strengths, not weaknesses.
- follow the instructions on the form and get everything in on time.
- research the employer - its strategy, aims and values (see its website and annual
Also see communication.
5. Think about what employers want
Organizations particularly look for:
- self-motivation and the will and skill to learn.
- numeracy and analytical thinking.
- creativity, energy and enthusiasm.
- the potential to lead others and delight customers.
- the ability to communicate, work effectively in a team and cope well
6. Interview well
create a good first
impression - be knowledgeable, enthusiastic, smart and
impressions are based on 55% appearance, 38% how you speak and only 7% what you
- deliver what the employer
wants – see point 5.
See also Interviewing and
7. Lifelong learning
Go for a job that gives you training and education to make you a
better person and employee.
Learn from your career successes and failures (so don’t make the same mistakes twice).
Develop a network of professional colleagues and friends as advisers.
Key quotes explained
“Unhappiness is best described as the difference between our talents and
- Edward de Bono (creative thinking expert,
Be realistic as well as ambitious. Everyone can’t be a dancer, actor or pop star! But whatever you do, you’ve
got to be better than everybody else with superior skills, knowledge and personality. As the management writer,
Tom Peters once said:
“If you’re not distinct, you’re extinct”.
“I like to hire people who have made mistakes. It shows they take
- Bill Gates (co-founder of
Microsoft, pictured right).
Employers like people who are self-motivated and prepared to constantly try new things, even though some of them
might be unsuccessful.
“Neither talent without instruction, nor instruction without talent can
produce the perfect craftsman”
- Vitruvius (Roman architect, pictured right).
You need talent, teaching and tenacity to succeed in a job, because “nobody owes you a career”,
says Andy Grove (ex-boss of the American computer
chip maker, Intel).
So the American army slogan is “Be, know, do”.
Believe in yourself, don’t be discouraged and work hard. Even Albert Einstein had to
overcome this put-down from one of his teachers: “You will never amount to very much”.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your
- Confucius (Chinese
philosopher, pictured right).
Ideally find a job that’s a hobby, but you’re unlikely to achieve this aim immediately.
“No man can climb the ladder of success without first placing his foot on the first rung of the
ladder”, said J.C. Penney,
founder of the American department store.
“In looking for people to hire you look for three qualities: integrity,
intelligence and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you”
- Warren Buffett (American
share investor, pictured right)
Character is at least as important as competence.
Don’t just work for money but do something worthwhile. “Only a life lived for others is a life
Bolles (pictured right), What
Color Is Your Parachute? (1970)
Choose a job that
suits your skills, values and interests - you and your employer have got to like each
At the interview, promote your strengths and
speak with knowledge, confidence, integrity and humility. Keep a 50-50 split between speaking
For more detail see What Color Is Your
Parachute? in the Business Books section.
Edgar Schein (pictured right), Career Dynamics (1978)
Choose an employer with similar values to yourself.
There are five “career anchors” that describe what you might like from a job:
• technical/functional competence (using specialist skills).
• managerial competence (managing and leading).
• security (low possibility of redundancy).
• autonomy (and flexibility for work-life balance).
• creativity (creating something worthwhile).
Pick a job with the career anchor you value most.
Townsend (pictured right on front cover) , Up
the Organization (1970)
A witty A to Z guide of what gives you a successful career, particularly: promise keeping, necessary
disobedience, avoiding compromise (except as a last resort), humility, respect for others, courage,
conscientiousness, fairness and honesty.
William Bridges (pictured
right), Jobshift (1995)
He uses the acronym DATA to describe the four factors leading to career success: desire, ability,
temperament and assets (things you do better than other people).
John Gabarro (pictured right) and John Kotter (pictured right below), Managing Your Boss (1980
Harvard Business Review article)
The best way to get on with your boss is to:
- be good at your job and fully exploit your strengths.
- create mutual respect and understanding.
- be yourself and stand up for your beliefs.