Yesterday, while out for a walk with my son Luc, a Computer Engineering sophomore, I shared my struggles learning WordPress. A linear thinker, Luc unravels technology challenges in the time it takes him to raise a curious eyebrow. He said “Mom. I keep pressing buttons, then do research, press more buttons, until I solve the problem.” The line struck me like a thunderbolt. Here’s what I love about his approach, and how it applies to your job search:
1) Take baby steps ’til you figure it out. It’s tempting isn’t it, when faced with a challenge to say, “I don’t know what to do,” and then give up. Or else to say to yourself, “I’ve tried figuring it out, and it didn’t work the last time.” Luc’s approach? Experiment. Fail. Experiment. Fail. Experiment. Succeed. You know the famous Edison quote: “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Every successful job search requires pursuing 10,000 ways that won’t work. If you stay committed to providing value to your connections, you will eventually have an impact on a hiring authority, either directly or indirectly.
2) He has no judgment about the time it takes to figure out a solution. In my last job as the software trainer for our company, it took me months to understand the technology enough to teach it to others. My boss had faith in me though. I was frustrated with the time it took to understand its nuances, but Dave kept saying, “It takes as long as it takes. The harder you are on yourself, the longer it will take you. So ease up.”
For a job seeker this means eliminating the judgment when you fail to receive a job offer after an interview. It means moving right along when someone you call for an informational interview says, “You are not a priority.” (Yes. I actually had that happen a few weeks ago). It means continuing to reach out, make friends, introduce yourself, and as Seth Godin says, “Be remarkable . . . and touch people in a way they aren’t expecting.”
Finding a job that you love, that fits your best strengths, takes time and persistence. To put it in perspective: It just takes one offer. Millions have found jobs before you, and if you keep pressing buttons, so will you.