Hard Work and Success — One Follows the Other

If you want to create the successful life and career you want and deserve, you need to become an outstanding performer.  As a career success coach, I always tell my career success coaching clients that outstanding performers are willing to put in the hard work to do whatever it takes to succeed.

This is a tough time to be looking for a job.  Many of my career success coaching clients are having difficulty getting interviews let alone landing a job.  However, I heard a story not too long ago about a new MBA from NYU who got five job offers.  He did it by creating unique resumes especially tailored to the job for which he was applying.  This takes work, but in this fellow’s case, the hard work paid off.

In the old days – before computers – creating unique resumes for every job for which you apply would have involved a mega amount of work.  In the digital age, it’s a lot easier.  Spend a few minutes cutting and pasting and you have a unique resume tailored to the exact position for which you are applying.  However, when I advise many of my career success coaching clients to adopt this approach, they balk.  They argue that one resume is good enough.  The truth is that one resume is not good enough.

In 1972, when I left college, I spent a lot of time writing a resume and cover letter.  Then I took them both to the copy shop and had a whole lot of copies made.  The only customization was typing the unique name and the address of the company at the top of the cover letter. 

The digital age has changed this.  Yes, it’s easier to create documents on a computer.  And that’s exactly why your main “resume” should be a series of pieces of information that you can arrange in a way that is most likely to catch the eye of the recruiter who reviews it.  In other words, one resume doesn’t cut it – you need to customize every resume because every job is unique.  A one size fits all resume won’t demonstrate that you are aware of and honor that uniqueness.  This takes work, but it’s worth it.

Then, once you get a job, you need to work hard at it.  Dale Winston CEO of Battalia Winston International, an executive search firm in New York says, “When things are tough, you have to try harder.”  She advises her clients to expend 20% more time and effort than their colleagues.  This isn’t for everyone, but from personal experience, I can tell you it works.  If you do this — and I did — you’ll get a reputation as a hard worker, someone who can be counted on to deliver.  And with that comes both job security in this uncertain economic climate and the fast track to getting promoted.

You can also volunteer for unpopular tasks.  I once got a promotion because I volunteered to head my company’s United Way campaign one year.  Trust me, running the United Way campaign was not a job that many people wanted.  I did a good job on the campaign and met a lot of senior people.  One of them liked me and the work that I did, and offered me a job in his division.

The common sense point here is simple – and sobering for those who are looking for career success shortcuts.  Be willing to go the extra mile.  Create custom resumes for every job for which you apply.  Once you get a job, work harder than others.  Volunteer for unpopular jobs – and then do a great job.  Yes, if you want to become an outstanding performer, it’s important to be a lifelong learner, set and achieve high goals, and get organized.  But it’s also important to do something a lot simpler – and totally in your control; be willing to work hard.  Hard work will help build your brand and put you at the top of the promotion list, and bottom of the layoff list.

That’s my take on hard work and career success.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with the rest of us.  As always, thanks for reading.  Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com for more common sense, to get daily success quotes, and to subscribe to my free weekly newsletter “Common Sense.” 

Bud

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