Today, I want to share with you some unconventional advice from the best minds in career/talent development. When it comes to getting paid what you’re worth, being promoted, or landing the job of your dreams, you need to stand out from the crowd. Where everyone else goes left, you’ll go right.
In that spirit, I’ve read books, magazines, and blogs looking for the best advice to build a great career by going against the grain. Read on to see what I found from 10 top experts…
1. Kate White – Writer, former editor-in-chief at Cosmopolitan, and speaker
To be the solution means to go into an interview–or a speech, or a presentation–and know that you have what your audience needs. They want you to be the solution to their problem. The actress Natalie Dormer was the first person to tell me this; it was her advice for owning a room during an audition.
In an interview, a speech, a presentation, don’t think about how you look or sound or whether they’ll like you. Think, “I’ve got something great to share today that they’re going to like and need, and I’m going to present it in a way that’s useful to them.” It takes it out of you and makes it about them, which not only helps you connect with people better, but also gets you out of that self-consciousness.
2. James Althucher – Hedge fund manager, entrepreneur, bestselling author, and podcaster.
Every time you say yes to something you don’t want to do, this will happen: you will resent people, you will do a bad job, you will have less energy for the things you were doing a good job on, you will make less money, and yet another small percentage of your life will be used up, burned up, a smoke signal to the future saying, “I did it again.”
3. Ramit Sethi – Author of NYT bestseller, 1 million readers on business, careers, negotiation, money
For most people, “networking” means “being social with people you don’t really like in the hopes that one of them knows someone who knows someone.” Your end goal should be an introduction to the person who has the authority to hire you for the job you want. And to be 100% qualified and prepared to ask for it by the time you get there.
4. Marshall Goldsmith – Top executive coach, speaker, and author
An easy habit for people who like to win to fall into, and a surefire shortcut for killing conversations, is to start a sentence with “no,” “but,” or “however”. It doesn’t matter how friendly your tone is or how honey sweet you say these words, the message to your recipient is “You are wrong.” It’s not “Let’s discuss,” “I’d love to hear what you think,” it’s unequivocally, “You are wrong and I am right.” If your conversation companion is also of the winner variety, you have a potential battle on your hands, and there is nothing more that can happen that is productive.
5. Lindsey Pollak – NYT bestselling author, speaker, and expert on millennials in the workplace
IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU; IT’S ABOUT HOW OTHERS SEE YOU.
Every one of us has to be proactive in creating our persona – you don’t want to leave how people see you up to chance.
And that’s where my take on personal branding is a little different from most others. You might have your own ideas and desires for your personal brand, but if that’s not how people see you, it doesn’t matter what you think. Their perception of your personal brand is the reality.
6. Josh Kaufman – Author of two international bestsellers, The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business and The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything… Fast!
Make dedicated time for practice. The time you spend acquiring a new skill must come from somewhere. Unfortunately, we tend to want to acquire new skills and keep doing many of the other activities we enjoy, like watching TV, playing video games, et cetera. I’ll get around to it, when I find the time, we say to ourselves. Here’s the truth: “finding” time is a myth. No one ever “finds” time for anything, in the sense of miraculously discovering some bank of extra time, like finding a twenty-dollar bill you accidentally left in your coat pocket. If you rely on finding time to do something, it will never be done. If you want to find time, you must make time.
7. Cal Newport – Georgetown University professor and popular blogger on success and meaning in one’s professional life
Knowledge workers dedicate too much time to shallow work — tasks that almost anyone, with a minimum of training, could accomplish (e-mail replies, logistical planning, tinkering with social media, and so on). This work is attractive because it’s easy, which makes us feel productive, and it’s rich in personal interaction, which we enjoy (there’s something oddly compelling in responding to a question; even if the topic is unimportant).
But this type of work is ultimately empty. We cannot find real satisfaction in efforts that are easily replicatable, nor can we expect such efforts to be the foundation of a remarkable career.
With this in mind, I argue that we need to spend more time engaged in deep work — cognitively demanding activities that leverage our training to generate rare and valuable results, and that push our abilities to continually improve.
8. Peter Drucker – late management consultant, educator, and author
Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong. More often, people know what they are not good at – and even then more people are wrong than right. And yet, a person can perform only from strength. One cannot build performance on weaknesses, let alone on something one cannot do at all.
Whenever you make a key decision or take a key action, write down what you expect will happen. Nine or 12 months later, compare the actual results with your expectations. I have been practicing this method for 15 to 20 years now, and every time I do it, I am surprised.
9. Tony Robbins – #1 New York Times best-selling author, life and business strategist, philanthropist, entrepreneur
You can get rich by screwing someone, but if you’re going to stay rich, you have to be constantly helping people. Find your passion and find a way to use it to do more for others than anyone else does and add value. And proximity is power. If you want to get the job done, you have to get in the environment of the best of the best.
My own growth has always been about challenging myself to be around people who play the game of life at a higher level. In order to stay on the court with them, you need to lift your game, you need to grow. If you’re around them and you’re adding value, you’ll find opportunity. Proximity is power.
10. Seth Godin – Entrepreneur, author, and blogger who thinks about the marketing of ideas in the digital age
The job is what you do when you are told what to do. The job is showing up at the factory, following instructions, meeting spec, and being managed.
Someone can always do your job a little better or faster or cheaper than you can.
The job might be difficult, it might require skill, but it’s a job.
Your art is what you do when no one can tell you exactly how to do it. Your art is the act of taking personal responsibility, challenging the status quo, and changing people.
I call the process of doing your art ‘the work.’ It’s possible to have a job and do the work, too. In fact, that’s how you become a linchpin.
The job is not the work.