Put Your Mindset to Work

The key to building a gratifying career and life

Dismal Job Market Data? Three Ways to Beat the Odds and Land a Great Gig

Mindset, the job market, and getting the job you want.

In my past blog posts, I explain why employers are rabid about Mindset over skillset, when it comes to hiring, promotion, pay, retention and more. Their secret challenge, which I hear from a disconcerting number of marquis employers, is that they have no clue how to get a real sense of what an applicant's Mindset strengths really are.

Serving up attitude surveys or trying to gauge your Mindset over the course of even the best-structured behavioral interviews is like trying to pick a marriage partner on a first date. That person (the interviewee) is never going to look better, smell better, act better, or do more to try to impress you than in that moment.

And, as my wife reminds me, any guy who tells you how funny he is, likely isn't. Bragging about Mindset doesn't work. Showing it, or flaunting it graciously through action, does.

Flaunt your Mindset

The simplest and most effective way, that has won the praise and notice of countless top companies is, 1) Pick a company whose values you value.2) Creatively devise ways to demonstrate 2-3 of their top values in the way you pursue the job.

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Example: Mars (think chocolate) has "Mutuality" as one of their five principles. One exec tells of the time an applicant had delivered to him his (very picky) favorite coffee, with a note that said, "Mutuality-I hope you enjoy learning about me the way I have enjoyed learning more about you and your company." The potential bribe was meaningless, but the "Wow" factor in somehow finding out the precise preferences of that boss and delivering it with a spirit of Mutuality won the boss's attention, interview (and eventually a great job).

Harness Adversity

Employers are in pain. They have plenty of adversity. This is where the Grit Mindset can really prevail.

Most job applicants approach the process trying with a "what's in it for me" Mindset. Instead, reverse it. Make it all about them. Employ a Global Mindset, look at that employer's big picture, do the research to pinpoint their biggest adversity. Guaranteed, this is getting their constant attention. Go there, and they'll love you for it.

Then, use your Grit Mindset to let them know how you can help them alleviate it, even a little bit. Focus on how you'll reduce their biggest adversity by joining the team.

Example: If everyone is overworked, doing more with less, and under chronic stress (like almost everywhere), be the one who invents and organizes an on-site morning or lunchtime boot camp exercise regime.

If you approach every application and interview with a problem-solver Mindset, you're more likely to be noticed and loved. In this (real life) example, instigating an on-site boot camp, strengthens team bonds, energy, engagement, and can be a simple, low-cost game-changer. Harness their adversity to create your opportunity. It just takes the right Mindset.

Blaze Your Own Trail

Danielle Steussy completed her MBA from a prestigious university and entered the bleakest job market in recent memory. She watched her friends understandably taking on crummy jobs just to pay the bills. Most gave up anything MBA-ish or in line with their dreams. But, as a graphic artist, determined to be more than a graphic artist (been there, done that) by landing a real management gig, Danielle took a different approach.

Using her 3G Mindset, Danielle thought long-term (Global) dug in hard (Grit) and simply gave (Good). She gave her time, she gave her talents, she gave her best ideas and work to those clients who she knew could help her win a dream gig, assuming she amazed them with her work.
She cut her bills, lived at home, and dug in for several months, treating each opportunity and client like gold, putting in the kind of hours and effort she knew her paid competitors never would. With her 3G Mindset, in a true David-slayed-Goliath drama, she beat out the top graphic art firm in the world on a major international assignment. She also got to work with some top influencers who were more than happy to receive her free or reduced-fee work, in a down economy.

Within a short time, two things happened. She started getting paid by some of her clients, easing her sacrifice, and she landed her dream gig. When she (and countless others) applied to head up the graphic arts department at a prestigious private university, Danielle's Mindset-fueled bank of goodwill poured out. The boss received the most impressive onslaught of unsolicited references, extolling Danielle's qualities, character and mindset. Most said, "If you don't hire her, I will!" This got the boss so excited over this find, that when he hired her (at top pay), the department threw a welcome party, thrilled over the apparent coup in landing Danielle as their new leader, and giving her an energizing start to what has become a "pinch me!" gig.

You can use your 3G Mindset to at least increase the chances that you win your dream gig, even in the most dismal times.

 

Paul G. Stoltz, Ph.D., is the author of GRIT—The New Science of What it Takes to Persevere, Flourish, Succeed, and the CEO of PEAK Learning, Inc.

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