The number one most common mistake at a job interview is:
failing to ask for the job*
WOW! Imagine if this is true. I took a few moments to think about how many times I wanted something– and walked away wondering why I didn’t get it and guess what I realized, more often than not, it was probably my own fault.
I didn’t open my mouth and say, “I’d like.. that job, that favor, that ‘whatever’…” but my own stubbornness or low self esteem or cowardice (ok, that’s a little strong) prevented me from getting what I wanted.
If in fact I want the job, why don’t I ask for it?
And if I want to be sure to get what I want, how do I get better at asking? The answer is; I practice. I practice asking for what I want. This requires me to know what I want. With some of us that’s the first step. Some people are completely clear about what they want (and some go to a lot of trouble to make sure EVERYONE knows and delivers). If you always are very clear about what you want and don’t have a problem asking for it.. then this post isn’t for you. But feel free to leave a comment!
However, if you are someone who generally knows what you want but sometimes hesitate to ask for it; I want you to stop and think about why that is.
Because every job is temporary.. we all need to be able to look for work and understand how our skills match a potential employer — efficiently and effectively. That includes opening our mouths and asking for the job when we find it. The worst that can happen is — we are told no. It may not be fun to hear no, but it’s better to hear no than silence. You can’t get a hit if you don’t swing the bat. You can do it.
Photo credit: brokenchopstick
*resource = How Interviewers Know
“Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful – be concerned with doing good work and make the right choices and protect your work. And if you build a good name, eventually, that name will be its own currency.”
Who wrote this? Take a guess. (play Jeopardy theme song here).
If you guessed someone famous.. you were right, almost. Patti Smith is a musician, poet, visual artist. She co-wrote “Because the Night” with Bruce Springsteen. (You’ve probably heard of him… do you think the boss subscribes to Patti’s philosophy? – I do.)
So what is Patti encouraging us to do?
- Build and protect your brand (name). Think of this in Patti’s context.. a woman in rock in 1975. Imagine how immensely talented and strong she is and what decisions both personal and artistic she needed to make to stand by this.
- Do good work. Yeah, that means working hard, taking risks, being bold when you may not want to.
- Protect your work. For the non-artist, I take this to mean be conscious of your work product and own it with pride.
- Make the right choices. “Right” choices tend to be harder and require thought and effort. That’s why so many of us make ‘wrong’ ones.
- Your name will be its own currency. In the new world of social… you can control/influence the value of your name tremendously. But you need to pay attention. It does not happen by accident.
For all of you saying, my name will never be ‘currency’ – I feel sorry for you. The ship has sailed and you missed it.
By the way, if you judge this book by it’s cover… you’re missing something great.
“When you have to sell ugly, sell the result.” **
You know the expression, “a face only a mother could love”? This little piggy is beautiful in her mother’s eyes. The good news is, we’re all beautiful to someone. “Selling ugly” means selling something that, on the surface… doesn’t seem great.
Selling sexy is easy; selling results is hard. If you spend more time understanding what the ‘customer’ (potential employer, someone who’s buying what you’re selling, etc.) needs… it will be more reasonable to assess your strengths versus that end.
In life, we all have those moments of doubt… when you and I need to convince someone (including ourselves!) that we’re wayyyyy more attractive than we might appear at first glance. In this case, we need to sell on the results we can deliver – not on our outward appearance. Maybe our experience isn’t a perfect fit for the job that’s open. Maybe we think we have too much or not enough education. Maybe we think we’re not pretty, thin or rich enough… whatever.
The truth is you are a perfect fit for someone, someplace. The question is, do you understand what you can DELIVER? Can you be more fun, more creative, more interesting? Can you design it, deliver it? Can you hit sales targets, hire better, add integrity? What goal do you have and does that goal match the person/organization you are trying to sell?
Even if we’re not quite as difficult a sell as the hairy pig… focusing on results will nearly always get us closer to the prize.
** thanks to Chris Brogan
Photo credit: Hairy Pig JLplusAL