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It’s kind of confusing really. You spend several years at school learning a subject, getting good marks and you expect to land a good job and start a rewarding career.

But more often than not, it doesn’t happen that way. 

And the problem is that school provides you with knowledge but doesn’t spend enough time teaching how to leverage it in the real world.

It doesn’t teach you how to compete for jobs in a crowd of people who can all claim they have mastered the same content with equal or better marks.

School does you a disservice by raising your expectations for success rather than equipping you will the tools and skills to start your journey.

And there is a good reason why the school doesn’t deliver to you. They can’t. They are replete with knowledge experts, not career experts. They don’t have scholars who have achieved amazing results in organizations.

I have been fortunate to have learned some cool things that will help you not only get a job but propel yourself to a brilliant career.

If you take these 3 actions you will have an advantage over others in obtaining the job you want and the career you covet.

1. Shed the Crowd Behavior You Have Been Taught at School

School teaches you and everyone else in the job hunt the same things: facts, formulae, interpersonal communications, problem-solving methods – a pedagogy that is the accepted norm and practiced by all.

And that’s exactly the problem when it comes to being successful. If you look like the other 100 job applicants why should the recruiting organization pick you? If there is nothing special about you, if you don’t stand out in a way that is meaningful and relevant you will be ignored.

Standing out from everyone else is about determining how to be different; discovering an approach that no one else uses. For example, it could be a unique résumé or possessing an intimate knowledge of the recruiting organization – because you were prepared to put in the time to study them.

The point is to look for a twist or edge to what you do that will get the attention of others.

2. Start Building Your Network Well Before You Begin Your Job Search

Get connected early to people you believe will be able to help you. To a large extent job hunting and career development is a “community sport” requiring a synchronized effort to open up opportunities and present the candidate to an audience who is leaning their way. 

Choose your connections wisely and methodically build relationships with them. Don’t expect that every follower will be useful. Research their backgrounds and reach out to those who have a resume that resonates with your career choice.

Be patient and persevere because a successful connection requires time and energy to cultivate.

3. Search for a Mentor Who Has Done Stuff 

Look for people with a rich background in achieving interesting and amazing things.

This is critical for the career “newbie”.

You don’t want a subject matter expert for guidance and advice, rather you want to rely on someone who has achieved something. Someone who has a reputation for turning the brave idea into a crude deed. 

People who intellectualize a problem aren’t that useful in a practical world characterized by uncertainty and unpredictability; on the other hand, individuals who have a successful track record of achieving success amidst chaos are the gems to covet.

Remember, what got you to graduation won’t guarantee a winning career; you must learn new skills to make your academic pedigree work for you. 

Learn and practice these 3 steps and watch your career take off.

Written By
Roy Osing is a former President and CMO with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all the major business functions including business strategy, marketing, sales, customer service and people development. He is a blogger, content marketer, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead. You can also read more of Roy Osing's articles at his website.

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