We’ve all been there. We watch a coworker or classmate continually produce stellar work, say the right thing at the right time AND do it all with a smile and some cheer. We can’t help but wonder, how do they do it all – and so well?
These are the people who have learned success is more than hard work and determination (although this is the formula for 95% of any achievement). They are always alert, always ready and always thinking. And while there is no magic formula for success, these people know how to use the tools required to achieve success with a laser point focus. By understanding what makes them tick, you too can develop the five key qualities that will set you on the path to success.
- They think outside the box. Successful people don’t see problems; they see opportunities and solutions to every obstacle put in their path. By maintaining an open mind and tapping into your creative side, you will be able to accomplish what needs to be done through innovative and inventive ways. After all, as one life coach put it, “the only limits in your life are those that you set yourself.”
- They are able to say no. How many Hollywood films, blogs and self-help books encourage us to harness the power of ‘yes’? But in the end, it is saying ‘no’ that seems so much more difficult. Successful people say no because they understand how it impacts their credibility and productivity. By saying no to the things you do not have time for or aren’t good at, you can concentrate your efforts and improve upon the strong suits that are uniquely yours. Once you start to say no, you will also be able to focus on what is important, developing selective and prioritization skills, which can lead to healthy habits, like sleeping and eating better, and exercising more. Translation: It will make you happier.
- They are engaged. If you don’t believe in mind over matter, then you probably don’t believe in hypnosis, the placebo effect, faith, or... the list goes on. Successful people approach every endeavor with a constructive mindset ready and eager to tackle any task. By altering your outlook, you will not succumb to negative vibes or daily frustrations, which will drastically improve your attitude. Feel good, feel empowered – and personal growth won’t be far behind.
- They can adapt. We are creatures of habit; we inherently do not like change. But successful people recognize the importance of being flexible, and can adjust to any situation and work well with anyone. By understanding how others think, and developing essential listening skills, you can arrive at conclusions more clearly and solve problems under pressure. When you find yourself on the precipice of a challenge or obstacle, consider Charles Darwin’s very definition of adaptability, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” It is a skill that takes practice, but the reward is great.
- They pursue a life of meaning. Of course, not the eternal quest to discover why we are all here, but the pursuit of personal happiness and value. Successful people do what makes them happy, and they will take any risks necessary to reach that goal. When you are excited and passionate about what you do, you tend to give it your best. Do what you love, whatever brings purpose and fulfillment to your life, and you will always bring your ‘A’ game.
Success, however you choose to measure it, begins with how you think. The human mind is a powerful tool, and successful people just recognize how to tap into that power before they apply hard work. By practicing and utilizing these five key qualities into your everyday interactions, both professionally and personally, you will be able to turn obstacles into opportunity. You will just see it differently. And that’s more than half the battle.
By Dr. Michael Williams
Dean, School of Business and Management
As a college graduate, you are ready to utilize your degree and start (or continue) on the career path of your dreams. So, after sending your resume out to countless prospective employers, you have risen above the competition with however many other candidates, and landed the interview. Congratulations! But of course, the hard work and initiative doesn’t end there. As an educator and dean, I have noticed several productive and unproductive strategies during interviews that leave more questions than answers. And in today’s tough job market, anything you can do to set yourself apart as the right person for the position should come across in your interview.
At the interview stage, there are most likely five or 10 highly qualified candidates, which must then be whittled down to two or three in a second interview, if applicable. During this time, the interviewer is focusing on key candidate details that are most likely not even on your resume. As an expert in human resource management, I’ve compiled five tips that hiring managers are really looking for in an interview, while demonstrating that you are their dream candidate.
- Do Your Research. Search online for any articles or awards about the company, review their website, and look them up on any social media platforms to understand who they are and what they do. When you refer to your findings during the interview, this expresses your familiarity with the company and shows the employer how interested and invested you will be in the position, without actually saying it. It will also demonstrate that you can gather information effectively and come prepared every day.
- Ask Questions. Always have a list of three or four ready when asked at the end of the interview. It reflects your interest in learning everything you could possibly want to know about the position. Questions should be centered on the company. If hired, you will be spending 40+ hours a week at the organization, so ask about day-to-day responsibilities, the interviewer’s most rewarding project, etc.
- Express That You Actually Want the Position. This could be the one little thing that sets you apart from the other candidates. If you are eager for the role, say it. Just be ready to explain why; use this opportunity to give your best sales pitch for a compelling reason.
- Send the Right Message. Implement verbal and nonverbal cues. Come up with a list of great buzzwords that you feel really describe you, like creative, team-player, pro-active, innovative, etc. This will help you answer the “tell us about yourself” question with confidence. Most importantly, interviewers are more interested in your composure and thinking process as you answer every question, so coming prepared will help you maintain your cool.
- Follow Up After the Interview. Reach out to the hiring manager after your interview; don’t let them think that you disappeared or that you devalue any connection you made. Whether you send a thank you note in writing or email, ensure that what you write adds value. Include what you learned in the interview, your passion for the position and confirm why you would be great for the role.
With the right research and preparation, showing your initiative during an interview can only help you and the hiring manager make a well-informed decision. Whatever the outcome of the interview, stay positive and use the experience as a learning opportunity to cultivate better strategies or to improve yourself. Good luck!