My friend who used to work as an electrical engineer but has been homeless for the past twenty years wrote me recently to complain that finding a job is difficult for him since he doesn’t have a car or a driver’s license. Of course, he hasn’t had a car or a driver’s license for the past few decades, but that’s a convenient excuse to cling to when you don’t want to actually go out and get a job.
Where most people fail is that they think they need to look for a job. A far better solution is to make your own job. Basically a job is solving a problem for someone else. A manager at Burger King hires a clerk because he or she doesn’t want to get stuck working the cash register all the time. So it’s cheaper to hire someone else to do it.
Instead of looking for a job, it’s far more productive to look for a way to use your talent and skill to solve problems for others. What can you do that others will pay for? For many people, they have skills that they don’t realize are valuable to others whether it’s knowing how to cook to knowing how to find the best shopping bargains for clothes or electronics. Everyone has a useful skill. You just need to know how to market your skill to others so they’ll want to pay you for solving their problems.
Dan Kennedy, the author of “How to Succeed in Business by Breaking All the Rules,” offers a simple way for job seekers to get a job. Simply target the industry you’d like to work in, then contact as many of those companies as possible, but direct your letters to the top people in that company. Tell them you’d be willing to work for free simply to get into that industry. Then offer them reasons why they’d benefit from you working for free.
Send out enough letters and you’re sure to hear back from a handful of people. Talk to those people and one will likely take you up on your offer to work for free in return for giving that company a benefit of some kind. As long as you’re confident you can deliver the results you promise, you’ll have basically talked yourself into a job.
The hardest way to look for a job is to do what everyone else does, which is look in the classified ads. That seems easy because all you have to do is buy a newspaper or look on the Internet, but anything that’s easy to do means it will be harder to succeed at it since everyone else will be following that same logic. If you take time to research companies in a given industry, then offer to work for free in exchange for giving that company a massive benefit from your skills, you’ll have far less competition because most people don’t want to do the hard work of researching companies or taking the risk of offering to work for free. By avoiding the hard work, they also avoid getting what they want, which is a job in an industry that they want to work in.
The key to success isn’t in having the right skills, but in offering a solution to solve other people’s problems. If you can do that, there’s a high chance you’ll find a job soon. If you ignore the benefits of a company and just look for a job because you need the money, you’ll have to wait in line behind thousands of other people who think like that too. That means you’ll likely be unemployed far longer than you might want.
Don’t look for a job. Make one. Don’t be afraid of hard work or even dirty work. Any job is important just as long as it’s a stepping stone to what you really want to do. Try to do what’s easy and you’ll wind up having a hard life. Do what’s hard and you’ll wind up with an easier life. It’s counter-intuitive, but it works every time.