Super villains are not usually looked to as good role models. But when it comes to job search job seekers could learn a lot from the persistence and focus that super villains bring to the implementation of their schemes.
1. You’ve Got to Have A Plan
Super villains know that they need to have an action plan to achieve success. Whether it be capturing a pesky do-gooder or landing a job, a plan is needed. Unlike super villains that carefully plan their next scheme, job seekers often go about their job search in very unimaginative ways. One of the more popular methods is sitting in front of a computer and applying for everything that’s available online. This is not a plan. Planning involves setting goals and time lines to achieve them.
Do you think that the Joker just said he was going to capture Batman? He used S.M.A.R.T. planning to define specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic timely goals. A job seeker can improve their chance of success by targeting their goals. An example of this would be determining a specific amount of resumes and cover letters that are going to be submitted to employers in a specific industry. A big part of the success of employment programs is that they help job seekers devise and implement a job search plan.
2. Forget All The Bells And Whistles
Super villains often make the classic mistake of devising schemes that are overly complex. For instance, surely there exists a simpler way to determine Batman’s true identity that doesn’t involve dangling him over a shark pit. Job seekers make this same mistake with their resume. Using more than three fonts, brightly coloured paper or coloured ink can be a turn off for employers. Job seekers often become overly committed to the words in their highlight/summary section of their resumes. There is no list of words that are going to work magic on every employer. It is important to rework the highlight/summary section so the words used reflect the job posting or company’s profile.
Super villains may be nasty, but there’s one good thing that we can say about their character—at least they’re consistent! Think of how dedicated Wile E. Coyote is in his pursuit of the Road Runner. Admittedly he does continue to fail, but sometimes he comes real close to achieving his goal. Persistence is key to success in job search because the more job searching you do the more you are able to promote yourself to employers.
Think about how many times Wile E. Coyote slammed into the side of a mountain because he tied himself to a giant stick of dynamite. Super villains seem incapable of learning, whereas job seekers are capable of learning from their mistakes. If a job seeker bombs an interview they can ask for feedback so that they can improve for the next interview. Perhaps their resume hasn’t led to interviews. An unconfident attitude often leads job seekers to attribute employers’ lack of interest to something that they are personally lacking. In contrast, a persistent attitude looks for solutions asking themselves questions about the quality of their application package and whether they need to do more networking.
Super villains know that if they want to be taken seriously they need to get their name out there. That’s why the Riddler leaves clues lying around everywhere. The same is true for job seekers; they need to get their names out there; this is often referred to as personal branding. When a job seeker applies for a job that has been publicly posted, it is possible that they are competing against 100 other people. With such a large quantity of resumes, there’s a pretty good chance that their resume is going to be just as good as a lot of other candidates. The good news is that there is one thing that can skyrocket a job seeker to the top of the call back list: networking.
Networking is the difference between whether or not an employer knows a job seeker’s name when they see it. If a job seeker has a friend, family member, or former co-worker put in a good word for them, there’s a pretty good chance that they will be getting an interview. Social networks can be expanded through career groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Another method for establishing a strong network with employers is to ask for an informational interview. This is a quick interview with employers to learn more about a prospective industry. In addition to learning a lot about the industry, job seekers establish personal connections with employers before they have even applied to work with them.
Why Super Villains?
Super villains are bold and aren’t afraid to go for what they want. Often job seekers spend a lot of their time thinking and planning but not a lot of time implementing a plan. In contrast, super villains delight in both the planning and the implementation of their schemes. The super villain is a symbol of all that is dastardly in our society. One of the character traits of a villain is to be overly boastful or prideful, often to the super villains own down fall. However, job seekers could learn from the super villains wiliness to promote themselves. As a job seeker where do you draw the line between clever self-promotion or villainous pride?
This article was written by career development practitioner Mike Bourke.