Hard Work — The Fourth Key to Outstanding Performance

Today is Wednesday, so this post is on outstanding performance.

I always tell people that outstanding performers have three things in common.  They are lifelong learners.  They set high goals and achieve them.  They are well organized.  But, in reality, all outstanding performers have a fourth thing in common.  They are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.

This is a tough time to be graduating from college.  Many young folks I know are having difficulty getting interviews let alone landing a job.  However, Ben Matranga, a new MBA from NYU got five job offers.  He did it by creating unique resumes especially tailored to the job for which he was applying.

In the old days – before computers – this would have involved a lot of work.  In the digital age, it’s a lot easier.  Spend a few minutes cutting and pasting and voila! you have a unique resume tailored to the exact position for which you are applying.  However, when I advise my coaching clients to adopt this approach, many 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, you spent a lot of time writing a resume and cover letter.  Then you 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.

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 that’s some job security and the fast lane 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.  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 be willing to work hard.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com for more common sense and to subscribe to my weekly newsletter “Common Sense.” 

I’ll see you around the web and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

Bud   

PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to www.FirstGiving.com/TheCommonSenseGuy to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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