Most executives didn’t start their careers after college as an executive. Well, unless you are Mark Zuckerberg or one of the other software industry giants. So that leaves a lot of you who rose to the top through hard work that achieved results, earning promotional steps to become an executive.
Now you may be at a point in your career where you either want to make another leap forward or perhaps step outside your current company and pursue other career paths. Or, you could be one of the many upper-level managers who are trying to move into executive status.
In the book Purple Squirrel by Mike Junge, a leadership recruiter at Google, he outlines what recruiters use to identify their ideal hires. It starts with being unique, having a value proposition to offer another company. Junge explains, “Consciously or unconsciously, the majority of elite professionals use a handful of common strategies to accomplish this goal.”
The strategies are the same when working towards a promotion or job searching for the next position up the ladder. Let’s take a look.
Winning attitude. You can control the attitude you show towards any given project or job search. You can choose to be courteous, resilient, or customer-focused. Being optimistic while in the throws of frustration is a sure sign of a leader and executive quality. Want to succeed at work? Check your attitude at the door. It is a known fact that attitude plays into success in the workplace. By demonstrating confidence, humility and results, you are showing key leadership talents that put you on the track to success.
Job search tip: In any verbal or written communication, your attitude shows whether you think it does or not. Apply these attitude strategies when you are speaking with recruiters, having a phone or in-person interview, and following up with the prospective employer. Also, have another person read your resume and career documents to make sure you are projecting yourself in the best light possible and with the best-perceived attitude.
Show interest. Coworkers trust people that seem interested in their work and success. Purposefully engage with colleagues to connect on an individual basis. We all know at least one person who has a charismatic personality and, in most cases, they are highly successful in their life. Be the magnet to success.
Job search tip: Show a deeper level of interest with the people you connect with during your job search. This will serve you well when networking, interviewing or asking for references. People like to feel that they are being heard and, in turn, will listen carefully to your needs and requests.
Continuous learning. Don’t let true success be just out of reach because you aren’t willing to keep learning. Junge says, “Social learning is as important as on-the-job skill building. Be curious and don’t be afraid to say ‘I don’t know’ once in a while.” Take advantage of the insights of colleagues and encourage them to share their ideas.
Job search tip: Don’t limit your chances for job opportunities by not keeping your certifications up-to-date, technology knowledge leading edge and maybe even pursuing a higher degree or career-specific learning. Education is always one of the criteria that are considered when hiring a new employee.
Remember names. Addressing colleagues and coworkers by name is impressive because it gives each person the perception that they matter, and that you care enough to remember their name and address them personally. This buys a lot of loyalty.
Job search tip: Make a good impression by using people’s names when engaging in conversations during job search. This applies to everyone from the receptionist to the CEO.
It takes a lot more to get a promotion or an offer for the next position, however, these points are well taken for both situations and, when applied, enhance chances for success.
Oh, the term purple squirrel originated from recruiters who are looking for the ideal hire. Their criteria: Ideal hires are people so unusual, they are as hard to find as a purple squirrel. Could that apply to you?