The modern job market presents new challenges every day. I’ve been there, and I can relate. Years ago, I graduated with a shiny new (and expensive) computer and systems engineering degree right in the middle of the dot-com crash. New jobs were virtually nonexistent then. The internet job search was a brand new idea. The entire job search game had changed almost overnight.
The job search, like the entire job market, has continued to evolve every day since then. As a career coach for many accomplished clients, there are three rules I encourage job seekers to break in their search for a new career.
After all, if you want to win in today’s job market, you can’t play by yesterday’s rules.
1. Don’t assume you’re not qualified.
This sounds counterintuitive, I know. Job postings often contain long lists of requirements. But just because you may not meet them doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply.
While still a senior in college, I applied for a project management job at FedEx. I flew from upstate New York to Memphis, Tennessee, for an in-person interview. It was truly thrilling — right up until it wasn’t. You see, the company also flew in two other candidates to interview against me for one job opening. Those candidates both met the requirements of the job description, which included an MBA and years of work experience.
As the total underdog candidate, I decided to give it my best shot. I interviewed and expected to never hear from the company again — that is, until the phone rang, while I was still in the Memphis airport waiting to board the flight back to New York. I was the one they picked, the one they hired. In addition to being a fit within the company and most likely the cheapest, I was the only candidate able to successfully answer all of the math problems we were presented during the job interview.
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