Job seekers limit their possibilities by focusing on the job they want, rather than how they want to contribute to the world. Once you figure out how you want to contribute, you’ll discover that many paths will give you the skills, credibility and contacts you need to succeed.
Here are six steps to take to broaden the scope of your search and land the gig that will not only pay the bills but will also put you on the path to long-term success.
1. Figure out your mission.
Forget about where you are now, and even where you’ll be in one, five or 10 years. Who do you want to BE? Don’t worry about the exact job you’ll have. Focus on how you can use your strengths to create value for people.
2. Write down the existing barriers to fulfilling your mission.
If your mission is to be a fiction author, your barriers might be “Writing an outstanding novel” and “Getting my novel discovered by publishers and the public.” Going forward, frame all of your decisions with this question: Does this address one of my barriers?
3. Research 10 people who have already have the kind of career that you want.
Make a spreadsheet and note the steps each person took to success. Pay attention to the different paths that can lead to the outcome you want. It’s certain that there are more paths than you thought. It’s also certain that all of the paths require hard work. This technique is also a valuable way to validate your mission, even if no one among your friends and family understands what you want to do and why.
4. Identify the specific skills, credentials and relationships that are necessary to overcome the barriers to achieve your mission.
Your research will come in handy here. How did your 10 people go about acquiring the skills, credentials and relationships that made them successful?
5. Spend time with people who are more successful than you at doing what you want to do.
You only have so much time to do networking. It’s tempting to spend that time hanging out with other “strugglers” or job-seekers. While there is a time and place for the emotional support that these people can provide, focus your networking efforts on events where you will meet people who are ahead of you on the path. They’re the ones who can inspire, teach and hire you.
6. Be friendly and generous and seek to give before you get.
In order to spend time with those big wigs, you’ll need to show some value. One easy and hugely undervalued kind of value is being genuinely and enthusiastically friendly. That doesn’t mean you should be a sycophant; an understated compliment and thoughtful question goes much further.
If an opportunity presents itself, ask if you can buy coffee or lunch for one of your contacts. Let the premise be only advice. Rest assured, if you make a great impression, your contact will help you out. By resisting the desire to ask for a favor, you actually make your contact feel more generous for having initiated the offer.
7. Introduce yourself “as if” you are that which you aspire to be.
The moment you say, “I’m looking for …” or “I’m an aspiring …” the person you’re speaking with will begin to lose interest. You’ve set up your entire value as a person as something that exists in the future. What can you do for me right now?
Introduce yourself in a way that reflects your mission. Stay grounded in the present. Don’t exaggerate and don’t lie but start to see yourself now as the person you are becoming. Once the conversation gets going, you’ll have the opportunity to elaborate on where you are in your journey.
Post written by Taylor Jacobson, leadership and personal development coach and blogger at 21 Switchbacks, a community of thoughtful people committed to creating remarkable lives. Get instant access to 10 Resources To Change Your Mind & Life. Are you living your potential yet?