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Landing Your Dream Job is More Than Just Luck

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BY: Jen Emmons, Carex Consulting Group

Discovering career opportunities is not just for those new in their career.  As a recruiter, career coach, and HR leader for more than two decades, I have observed patterns of those who just seem to be “lucky” in life and career and I can tell you with certainty that luck has little to do with it.

I have witnessed some individuals with a seemingly effortless ability to accept a position or enter a new organization or industry and quickly thrive. In contrast, many others stay put or give it a go and struggle.  I have coached individuals in similar situations who have been laid off, and one quickly lands a great new opportunity and excels while another flounders and takes months or years to get their footing or sometimes settles where they are unfulfilled. And still others go from position to position and company to company repeating the same unproductive patterns and seeming unaware of the cycle.

I’ve observed that “lucky” people also have a pattern: a solid foundation, strong relationships, conducive environments, well-honed habits, mindset, and most importantly the right strategy and approach.

Building a Foundation

While it helps to invest early in your career, it’s never too late to begin.  Many tremendous success stories were late bloomers.  So where do you start?  It’s important to focus on the essentials.

  • Partner with a career matchmaker like Carex Consulting Group that matches your skills and preferences with available and future job opportunities, acting as an intermediary between you and potential employers.
  • Earn a good reputation as someone who has integrity, is dependable, trustworthy, consistent, and professional.
  • Create and maintain a stand-out resume, and an effective presence on social media, especially LinkedIn, and develop a respected personal brand.
  • Develop and nurture relationships while building strong networks with colleagues, leadership, and members of your profession, industry, and community.
  • Get involved in projects, initiatives, development programs, freelancing, volunteering, mentorship, and other opportunities that speak to you.
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Your Environment Matters

Certain environments are more conducive to new opportunities.   Growing companies, for example, are often fast-moving, and willing to take a chance on someone.  Organizations that invest in their employees – focus on learning and development and provide dual career ladders for leadership and direct contributors.  Cultures that emphasize transferable skills and traits versus insisting that someone has the title.  Large economic and industry changes have impacted demand for talent that outpaces supply.  Or teams and organizations that require sweeping change and need catalysts that can dive into ambiguity.  Look around and decide if you are in the right environment and if not start exploring other options.

You can also be in the right environment but slipping into autopilot.  Questions to ask yourself – Am I dedicated to continuous learning?  Do I have a solutions and results mindset?  How adverse am I to risk?  Am I open to a lateral move or taking a step back to take a leap forward?  Am I receptive to feedback?

Be Curious – What May Be Helping or Hindering Your Progress?

 We all have them but are you aware of your limiting beliefs including what your capabilities are/are not?  How much do you like to stay in your comfort zone?

What internalized rules about work are you operating under such as how long you need to be in a job before you are a “job hopper” or what is too “old” to change careers?

Let’s Dispel the Myth of the “Overnight Success”

 While there may be a few out there nothing is farther from the truth and for most people success is hard earned.  There are, however, mindsets, repeatable behaviors, and strategies of people that appear to effortlessly move into new career opportunities.

Combination of acquired traits and habits

  • Resilient, innovative, curious, authentic, effective communicator, growth mindset, willingness to “fail” versus not go for it, learn from mistakes, and move forward, adaptable, tenacious, and determined.
  • Remain active in areas that support and promote their goals such as attending conferences or membership in professional associations to becoming a respected thought leader, speaker, writer, or podcaster.
  • Surround themselves with mentors and advisors.
  • Ask for and receive help as well as pay it forward.
  • Build and maintain momentum.
  • Remain hungry, consistently move toward their goals despite setbacks, and stay in the game.

Get real with yourself

  • Are you allowing your past to predict your future?
  • Do you catch yourself feeling entitled or suffering under the illusion that you will be your best when you get a new job or make it to the next level?
  • Are you confident and humble or braggadocios?
  • How do you treat people?  Does this answer vary based on their position or what they can do for you?
  • Do you manage disappointment by taking accountability and ownership versus deflecting, blaming, and excusing?
  • Are you giving to get or does what you have to offer to add value to others?

Opportunities Are Everywhere – Are You Seeing And Acting on Them?

 Everywhere you go, everything you do, and every interaction is a petri dish of potential.  When you are being your best, whether it is a humble beginner or a respected expert, you get noticed.  When you can find reasons to be grateful for what you have and where you are right now – that is a creative and receptive stance.  When you care about others and show up with an attitude of service this ripples outward and generates wellbeing.  Some things take time before they come to fruition but again things can be set in motion long before they materialize in the form of an opportunity or job offer.  So regardless of whether you are in a classroom, a monotonous job, volunteering, working on a project, or just ready for a change, are you prepared to act on potential possibilities?

Things to consider:

  • Challenge your inner critic and all the reasons you “can’t.”
  • Problem solve for potential barriers that are real or imagined.
  • Surround yourself with people you respect and admire who are in the role of living the life you want and learn from them.
  • Envision the future you want and identify specific goals, and action steps, include a timeline, and regularly check in and assess your progress.

Actualize Opportunities

 It is highly likely you have been offered an opportunity but didn’t realize it or didn’t seize it.  When someone asked you to speak at an event or fill in the blank you instantly felt the alarm bells go off and did not feel “ready,” so you turned it down.  Practice and put this phrase into action, “I would be open to exploring this.” This gives you time to step back and learn more before deciding. And if it’s an opportunity that doesn’t exist – create it and ensure your proposal solves existing deficiencies, and unmet needs and includes mutual benefits.

Regardless of where you are on your journey, know you are in good company.  “Success” seems glamorous, but it’s challenging work and requires grit, passion & determination.  As Earl Nightingale said – “Luck is when preparedness meets opportunity.”

BIO: Jen Emmons is a Talent Strategist with Carex Consulting Group who has dedicated her career to assisting others with theirs.  She finds it highly rewarding to journey alongside people as they make important career decisions.  Before her current role, she spent most of her time as a Career Coach and HR leader in Telecommunications and Energy.

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02/21/2024 08:21 pm GMT

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