Cheetah is an interesting animal we can associate with many things. Sometimes it reminds us of African nature and safari experience, sometimes of a shoe or a coat pattern and sometimes of that amazing speed nobody can beat.
For me, cheetah is actually a natural teacher on a subject of job hunting. Here I will tell you why.
When a cheetah is on the hunt, it has to be extremely fast – but speed alone is not enough to make a successful catch. Before it begins the chase, it needs to get very close to its prey by sneaking through the savannah, approaching from down-wind, sometimes using small rises in the landscape to hide its intent. A cheetah is very strategic in that approach: It doesn’t start running randomly without planning which specific animal to attack. On contrary: it is focused on its prey, well-prepared for the attack and skilled to grab it fast.
In my career I have often witnesses the opposite approach young people take at times when they decide to actively engage in job hunting. On average they send a large number of applications for various jobs in different industries demonstrating they don’t have a clear vision of their future. Sadly, reality shows that this approach does not translate into success. Out of all these applications graduates on average score an interview with a success rate just above 10%. In cheetah’s case: it would die from hunger having that score in its hunt.
I am convinced that there are 3 basic steps you need to master in order to achieve your career goals:
1.) Find your True North
Remember that without knowing where you want to go, it doesn’t matter at all which road you decide to take! So, it is extremely important to know what are your strengths and core values before you even start thinking about a job application.
At the beginning of a career, a strong orientation will help you understand your best assets. Those are your strongest skills, deepest personal values and real interests. The combination of those 3 elements is actually your sweet spot that will make you shine through the selection process and help you progress your career above your expectations. You can get the valuable support in finding your True North with the professional orientation assessments. One of the tools that may steer you on your path can be the Grit Point – your personal career navigation system!
2.) Stay focused in applications to score an interview
At the time of graduation, students have little work experience, so they feel they have little to offer and they find it difficult to find something that can help them stand out from the crowd. Once you’ve discovered your sweet spots, use these insights for a much more focused application approach. I’ve spent many years in recruitment and I still remember how it feels to be overwhelmed with applications on a daily basis. The CVs I saw were usually designed in a generic template manner. In the case of graduates with limited work experience, frankly, many of them looked very much alike. They were far too long and lacked any selling proposition. Now, it is your choice to be one amongst many – or to dare being different. By being different, you will secure recruiters’ attention, generate interest and often score an interview. Remember: 70% of hiring managers look for clear, focused and well-structured CVs.
Instead of being omnipresent in an average way, focus on those spots that allow you to truly stand out.
3.) Build your personal brand
I like to say that success occurs where opportunity and preparation meet. Scoring an interview sounds like a great achievement – and it truly is. You should be proud of yourself at this point. But you should also understand that being ready and well-prepared for that interview will require a lot of work. When I was actively recruiting in my HR roles, I often opened an interview with the question: “Can you tell me your story?”
This question is a blessing and a curse at the same time. For well-prepared and confident candidates it offered the opportunity to sell their unique proposition. They were able to speak about their strengths and positioned their interests in a very constructive way. For less prepared candidates the question usually led to a moment of shock that turned them silent. Nobody wants to start their interview on a silent note. Do your homework properly and make sure you come in with a strong selling pitch.
Grit International GmbH
8004 Zurich, Switzerland
Ida Banek, Founder
Ida is senior HR leader with over 20 years of experience in the field. She has a strong expertise in strategic talent management and a particular passion for developing young talents. Ida decided to found her own company so she could make her expertise available not only to global companies, but also to individuals eager to take their careers in their own hands.