wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
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Career managementCareer management


Career management is...

Finding the right job with enough money, fulfilment and time for leisure.


How to get the right job


1. Follow the dream

  • think about your ideal job and how you can get it.
  • be realistic about your ability but remember hard work and determination are just as important.



2. Think about what matters most to you

Promotion, autonomy, self-employment, creativity, recognition, power and status, money, responsibility, challenge, variety, peace of mind, time for family and friends?



3. Know your strengths and avoid your weaknesses

Your job should use your strengths and avoid your weaknesses.



4. Knock 'em out with your covering letter, CV and application form

  • communicate with the right person.
  • sell yourself - grab the reader's attention, be brief and communicate your passion, skills and knowledge.

  • say how you can deliver what the employer wants – see point 5. 
  • watch your spelling and grammar - make your message clear. 
  • get your message and successes across without being arrogant. 
  • accept responsibility for your life - don't blame others for your failures.  
  • be positive and confident - highlight your strengths, not weaknesses.  
  • follow the instructions on the form and get everything in on time.
  • research the employer - its strategy, aims and values (see its website and annual report ).

 Also see communication.



5. Think about what employers wantCareer management

Organizations particularly look for:

  • self-motivation and the will and skill to learn.
  • numeracy and analytical thinking.
  • creativity, energy and enthusiasm.
  • the potential to lead others and delight customers.
  • the ability to communicate, work effectively in a team and cope well with change.



6. Interview wellCareer management

  • create a good first impression - be knowledgeable, enthusiastic, smart and punctual (first impressions are based on 55% appearance, 38% how you speak and only 7% what you say!)

  • deliver what the employer wants – see point 5. 
  • listen as much as you talk

  • remember you (as well as the employer) are finding out if the job is right for you

See also Interviewing and Selection.



7. Lifelong learningCareer management

Go for a job that gives you training and education to make you a better person and employee.

Learn from your career successes and failures (so don’t make the same mistakes twice).

Develop a network of professional colleagues and friends as advisers.



Key quotes explained


Career management

“Unhappiness is best described as the difference between our talents and our expectations”

- Edward de Bono (creative thinking expert, pictured right).

Be realistic as well as ambitious. Everyone can’t be a dancer, actor or pop star! But whatever you do, you’ve got to be better than everybody else with superior skills, knowledge and personality. As the management writer, Tom Peters once said:

“If you’re not distinct, you’re extinct”.


Career management


“I like to hire people who have made mistakes. It shows they take risks 

- Bill Gates (co-founder of Microsoft, pictured right).

Employers like people who are self-motivated and prepared to constantly try new things, even though some of them might be unsuccessful.



Career management

“Neither talent without instruction, nor instruction without talent can produce the perfect craftsman 

- Vitruvius (Roman architect, pictured right).

You need talent, teaching and tenacity to succeed in a job, because “nobody owes you a career”, says Andy Grove (ex-boss of the American computer chip maker, Intel).

So the American army slogan is “Be, know, do”.

Believe in yourself, don’t be discouraged and work hard. Even Albert Einstein had to overcome this put-down from one of his teachers: “You will never amount to very much”.



Career management

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”

- Confucius (Chinese philosopher, pictured right).

 Ideally find a job that’s a hobby, but you’re unlikely to achieve this aim immediately.

“No man can climb the ladder of success without first placing his foot on the first rung of the ladder”, said J.C. Penney, founder of the American department store.



Career management

“In looking for people to hire you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you”

- Warren Buffett (American share investor, pictured right)

Character is at least as important as competence.

Don’t just work for money but do something worthwhile. “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile”, Albert Einstein said.



Best books

 Career management

Richard Nelson Bolles (pictured right), What Color Is Your Parachute? (1970)

Choose a job that suits your skills, values and interests - you and your employer have got to like each other!

At the interview, promote your strengths and  speak with knowledge, confidence, integrity and humility. Keep a 50-50 split between speaking and listening.  

For more detail see What Color Is Your Parachute? in the Business Books section.


Edgar Schein (pictured right), Career Dynamics (1978)Career management

Choose an employer with similar values to yourself.

There are five “career anchors” that describe what you might like from a job:

technical/functional competence (using specialist skills).

managerial competence (managing and leading).

security (low possibility of redundancy).

autonomy (and flexibility for work-life balance).

creativity (creating something worthwhile).

Pick a job with the career anchor you value most.

.Career management

Robert Townsend (pictured right on front cover) , Up the Organization (1970)

A witty A to Z guide of what gives you a successful career, particularly: promise keeping, necessary disobedience, avoiding compromise (except as a last resort), humility, respect for others, courage, conscientiousness, fairness and honesty.


Career management


William Bridges (pictured right), Jobshift (1995)

He uses the acronym DATA to describe the four factors leading to career success: desire, ability, temperament and assets (things you do better than other people).


Career Management


John Gabarro (pictured right) and John Kotter (pictured right below), Managing Your Boss (1980 Harvard Business Review article) 

The best way to get on with your boss is to:

Career Management

  • be good at your job and fully exploit your strengths.
  • create mutual respect and understanding.
  • be yourself and stand up for your beliefs.


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