One of the thing that Gary Hamel, management expert, points out in his passionate talk on You Tube titled, “Continuous Management, What, Why and How?” that in order for companies to succeed today in this hyper-competitive economy, they need employees who can take initiative, be creative and have passion. So how do you demonstrate this to get a job?
Resume is not going to help much here. Interviewing is not that effective.
You have to be doing a job to impress a prospective employer.
Who better to learn this lesson from than Steve Jobs, that was described in Walter Isaacson’s biography on him titled, “Steve Jobs.”
When Steve Jobs was young, he had a neighbor named Larry Lang, an engineer at Hewlett Packard (HP), who introduced him to Heathkits to develop electronic gear by assembling the parts in the kits. He also got Jobs to join HP’s Explorer’s Club, where engineers would come during lunch and talk to kids about a technical project they were working on.
A lesson one can draw from this is very simple, yet quite effective technique, is that even if you are not looking for a job, it is always important to go to a person who has the power to help you in more ways than one. It is much easier to have conversation with someone with whom you are asking for help rather than a job. People have the power and willingness to help, but are less likely to give you a job. As I like to say, people can only give you a job offer, but not a job. A job is something you do. It is a subtle difference, but it changes your mindset in how you approach someone.
Most people are willing to help, especially if they have a stake in your success. Next, update them on your progress and let them know when you have finished the project and seek their advice on how you can further develop your interest in a similar type of project. Note, not once have you asked for a job. This is networking at the highest level.
This is something people don’t realize that today doers get jobs, lookers get the proverbial shaft.
1) He was looking for help not a job.
2) He was not afraid to do whatever it took to get his project done; the focus was on the project.
3) He demonstrated initiative by going straight to the CEO of HP; it's harder but no competition. People at the top like to help since they are nice and also have a reputation to protect.
4) He showed creativity in that he was developing a frequency counter.
5) He showed passion on his interest in electronics.
If you demonstrate creativity, initiative and passion, then you can have a conversation with just about anyone to get their help. If you are authentic, then the person is likely to be impressed such that he will try to create a position for you or get you in touch with someone in his network who can help you.
Getting a job often turns out like you are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, but if you are doing a job, then you are changing the game by making that peg round so it can easily fit in a round hole.
Jay Oza is a founder and principal innovation development consultant at 5ToolGroup, a company that specializes in helping startups and established firms bring innovation to market within 90 days through our unique 5Tool Methodology that integrates sales, marketing, partnerships, customer development and agile/lean methodology to enable frugal or ("Jugaad") innovation. We believe that to succeed today, you have to continuously look for ways do lot more with lot less. This is the only way to win today.