Career success = f(skills + attitude + motivation)

Through my business I do a lot of work with graduates and I am often asked to present at universities to groups of final year students in order to help them prepare for the “real world”.

One slide I incorporate into all my workshops says:

“success = f(skills + attitude + motivation)”

In other words successfully landing a job is a function of three things: your skills (qualifications or what you have actually learned), the positive attitude with which you go about looking for a job, and how motivated you appear during the interview process.

The reason I tell students this is that believe it or not there are some very open-minded employers out there who look beyond academic transcripts and grades. And if they can see you are motivated to learn what needs to be done and have the right attitude then they might just be willing to give you a go.

Let’s just say that I can attest to this from first hand experience… on both sides of the equation. When I finished uni my marks weren’t really anything to write home about (actually that’s an understatement!) and I was still offered my first job because my boss believed I had the right attitude. And many years later on one particular occasion as a manager of a business, I received dozens of applications for a specific role and ended up employing someone without any prior industry experience and without any Einstein-type grades because during all my interviews with him he was so motivated and bursting with enthusiasm. He turned out to be a star performer.

The good news is that this theory doesn’t only apply to graduates or those looking for an entry-level role. There are also many employers out there who will take a chance on someone who may not have exactly what the company is after as long as they believe the candidate will pick things up quickly and learn the essentials on the job.

But you must be able to show just how willing (and motivated) you are when you speak to or meet your potential new employer for the first time.

Many of us would be familiar with the phrase “first you get your licence; and then you learn how to drive”. This concept can be easily applied to the world of recruitment and careers. Under close supervision or being regularly monitored by someone with more experience you can pick up the basic skills. But it’s only through many hours of doing it yourself (in various conditions) that you become confident and competent in the job at hand.

So please don’t be afraid to apply for a position that might at first glance appear to be slightly out of reach. With some close supervision someone might still be willing you give you your licence… and with the right attitude, motivation and confidence it won’t be long before you are alone out on the open road.


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