The day before Thanksgiving, one of my students stopped by my office to tell me that he had just received an offer for his dream position in a leadership program at a Fortune 500 company. His jubilation was hard to contain and quite contagious. He excitedly elaborated that the position would involve working on mergers and acquisitions and traveling around the world! Wow! I was so excited for him. But the best part of his story is that "Joe" demonstrated what I call the "Five P's for Career Success": passion, positivity, proactive approach, persistence and perseverance. Essentially, Joe didn't take "no" for an answer. His inspirational and motivational story embodied all of my "Five P's," so let me share it with you.
When Joe saw the position on our internal database of jobs, he realized that, unfortunately, his GPA did not meet the company's posted GPA requirement and, as a result, he was not eligible to apply for it. At this point, Joe could have given up...but he didn't. He contacted the Human Resources department of the company to see if he could arrange a half-hour informational interview, and they said "yes." After he met with the woman in HR, she was so impressed with him that she agreed to make an exception and allowed him to apply for the position. Well, three interviews later, it appears that Joe impressed quite a few people along the way because they offered him a spot in this highly coveted and competitive leadership program. Joe was one of only four seniors from across the country that was made an offer...out of a total candidate pool of 2500 seniors! Talk about inspirational!
I have heard countless similar stories to Joe's when student panelists share their success stories for finding internships and jobs during various career-related workshops. The underlying theme in all of their stories is their steadfast adherence to following the "Five P's."
Passion: You need to be able to demonstrate your passion for the position, career field and company at all times: in your cover letter and during all of your interviews. Companies want to hire people who are passionate about their business. If you owned a business, wouldn't you? They can clearly see through someone who isn't passionate. So, if you're not passionate about the internship/job, the career field, or the company, then you need to reassess your career plan. Are you making your choices based on what you think you're supposed to be doing, or because someone else said you should do it or because everyone else is doing it? What do YOU really want to do?
Positivity: This trait speaks for itself. Basically, employers want to hire positive people. And, as discouraging as your internship or job search may be at times, you need to keep your attitude positive. People can pick up on negative energy. Do whatever you need to do to keep yours positive.
Proactive approach: Take initiative in your job search. It will impress employers because most people don't do it. It also demonstrates how you will behave as an employee.
Persistence: Don't take "no" for an answer. If you really want something (see "Passion" above), you'll do whatever it takes to get it. If you're finding that you don't have the drive to do whatever it takes, then maybe you really don't want it.
Perseverance: Keep picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and moving forward no many how many times you've been rejected. We've all heard those quotes about how the most successful people in life failed so many times before achieving victory. Nobody wins every game and nobody gets every job. All you need is one.
By practicing my "Five P's" for career success, you'll inevitably obtain my "Sixth and Seventh P's": unlimited "possibilities" and your full"potential" in life. Now here's to a 2011 filled with "P's and joy!"