As someone who is involved in many different things, I’m always approached by people who seek help with getting some of those same opportunities — mainly working where I work or cheering in the NFL. I’m very humbled and grateful that people see fit to include me in their journey to embark upon something new, and that I’ve been blessed with these opportunities to share in the first place.
Sadly, I’ve noticed that a good majority of my peers expect to achieve great results in exchange for very little effort. The internet makes us want everything in life to be fast and instant. And social media makes us see other people’s success as our own.
Continuously looking to get “put on” to someone else’s blessings without first understanding what it took to get there is becoming a major problem, and it’s quite insulting. You cannot have millionaire expectations when your effort is only worth 20 bucks. This goes for corporate, freelance, entrepreneurship…anything that requires work!
Do some research!
I can’t count how many times someone has asked me for a referral and they are not prepared for what’s next. You want someone to help you get an opportunity, but come up with excuses when it’s time to prove your value. My biggest pet peeve is when people come to me saying, “Help me get a job at Delta.” What job? Did you look through the job openings and identify a position that aligns with your skills and experience? Is your resume up-to-date and ready to be included with your application? Nine times out of ten, the answer is no. Instead, they expect me to comb through the job openings, tell them where they should apply, tailor their resume to the job description, and submit a referral on their behalf. Absolutely not. This tells me you’re not prepared, and probably not a self-starter either.
A better way to approach this is, “Hey Taneshia! I am currently in the market for new opportunities. I found job #123456 on Delta’s site, and I believe it’s a perfect match for my skills and experience. I have attached my resume, and you’ll see my experience at XYZ Company aligns directly with the job description. I would love to chat for 30 minutes about how you like the company and whether or not you know anything about this role before I apply.”
Not hard at all. Do some background research and groundwork before asking to be put on. Help others help you by being prepared and on point — that’s how you get a referral.
Ask for guidance and feedback!
If you have put forth some effort and still aren’t seeing results, then maybe it’s time to ask for some guidance. Most companies see thousands of applications per day, so try to understand how to get your resume to stand out by asking what the company/hiring manager/department likes to see. Maybe you’re not articulating your experience on your resume to its full potential.
I’ll never forget when Google came to recruit at Spelman during the 1st semester of my senior year. I emailed my friend, Simone (still going strong at Google), for guidance because I knew it was hard to get in (about 10x harder than getting into Harvard) and she had done so successfully. I informed her of my intent to apply, sent her my resume for review and asked for feedback. She told me my resume was good, but Google likes for people to quantify the impact they had at a job vs. just listing out the duties.
Example: for one of my internships, I was essentially a store manager for a Target location (still upset with INROADS for that foolishness). I had the following responsibilities: 1. manage the employees and daily duties in all departments, 2. identify an issue in the store and fix it, then 3. present the results to senior leaders. Not that exciting, but here’s how I was able position it thanks to Simone’s great advice:
I’m grateful for that feedback because not only did I get the job at Google, but that tip has also worked for anything I put on my resume moving forward. Had I approached Simone with an entitled “get me a job” mindset instead of being prepared to accept the challenge, she probably wouldn’t have helped me. Had I just assumed that it was easy to get in, I would have never asked for guidance and probably wouldn’t have gotten an interview.
Worry about what God has for you!
Finally, some things are just inexplicable. We have to understand that God ordains different blessings for different people. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t explore and pursue interesting opportunities, but when it looks super easy for someone else, it’s probably because it was already ordered for them. When you obey God’s plan for your life, there’s no need to worry about what the next person is doing or struggle trying to keep up. You can’t explain or copy someone else’s favor. Focus on your own gifts and potential.
It’s hard to drive forward towards your own success when you’re too busy looking out the rear view mirror at someone else’s.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?