In his 2005 Stanford University commencement address Steve Jobs discussed 3 personal stories from his life. The advice he delivered was clear: find what you love, trust in your instincts, and follow your heart. I wrote a short post about this speech awhile ago after reading a portion of the transcript, but I never saw the video until today. This speech conveys a great wealth of firsthand advice on life. If you haven’t seen it, or even if you’ve only read the transcript, its well worth the 15 minutes of your time.
“Do I meet the qualifications and experience requirements?” That’s probably the most common question a young professional has heading into a job interview. As a “young professional” manager for an Orlando based technology company, I feel like I may be able to rest some of those overly worried minds. My brief management experience has been insightful on many levels. Specific to this post, it has made me aware of Corporate America’s tremendous flexibility with supposed “job experience requirements”.
Employers Can Be Clueless
Most companies only have a vague idea of what they want in an employee. In addition, on paper it’s extremely difficult to decipher one job applicant’s abilities from another. It is because of these two points that companies usually compile a list of job qualifications and experience requirements that actually overshoot the position’s functional needs. The employer’s goal is to simply weed out the inexperienced folks before they apply, leaving more time to interview the top candidates. However, most of the time all this method does is scare young, capable talent away.
Flexibility Always Exists
One essential point you must be aware of is that most job requirements, especially those related to experience, are extremely flexible. Requirements listed in an employment ad are usually just a rough sketch of the ideal hard skills specific to a job description. Soft skills, on the other hand, are usually loosely mentioned in employment ads. Yet when it comes to a formal interview, soft skills have the greatest impact on an employer’s perception of a potential employee.
People Hire People They Like
Managers will hire people they like before they hire the most qualified or experienced applicant. That’s the bottom line. Never let the supposed job qualifications or experience requirements stand in your way of applying. If you know you can handle the job, you are probably the employee the employer wants. All you have to do is make them aware of your potential.
Here are 15 key qualities that can offset job experience and qualification requirements:
In the absence of understanding human reaction is generally negative. It’s always easier to destroy than it is to build something useful. In his bestselling book, “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking”, Malcolm Gladwell describes the initial market reaction to the Aeron chair. At first the average consumer didn’t understand the product and therefore felt uneasy about its purpose. When people don’t know how to classify their personal reactions, the mind automatically associates this indecision with a negative frame of reference. If you don’t understand it, it must not be any good. Only when something is truly understood can it then be looked at in a positive light.
During high school I had the typical “I know everything” teenage mentality. In my senior year English class the teacher had us read “1984” by George Orwell as part of a 5 page book report assignment. I wrote a paper arguing against Orwell’s futuristic ideas of a negative utopia. The teacher graded my paper with a C- and told me that I was missing many of the key principals inherent in the storyline. He also advised that I open my mind a little, and said that I would learn more in life by figuring out the strong points of a subject, instead of arguing against the weak points.
I spent the following week carefully rereading “1984”, but this time from a mindset of curious objectivity. When I finished the second read I understood why the teacher had graded me so poorly. It became obvious to me that Orwell was a brilliant theorist, and even though I didn’t necessarily agree with every one of his points, some of his ideas changed my entire way of thinking. I would have gained nothing out of the book if all I had done was argue against it. My English teacher taught me one of the most important lessons in life: Finding the positive points in the subject you’re analyzing is the true measure of understanding. Ignorance usually generates negative opinion because it’s easier to disregard something than it is to understand it.
Do you want a rewarding life? Then be curious. The more curious you are, the more possibilities you will open throughout your lifetime. Open your eyes and look around. How many blind assumptions have you made? What do you want to know more about?
“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Here are 10 good reasons why you should unleash your curiosity:
- You Will Clarify Yourself – Curiosity allows you to shed light on your troubles, thoughts, and personal circumstances. It motivates you to uncover the truth about the nuances of your life. When curiosity is properly honed, it serves as a vehicle for establishing personal goals.
- You Will Uncover the Truth – All that seems obvious in life is not necessarily true. A curious person doesn’t just take someone’s word for it; they discover the truth for themselves. The curious dig deep into the details, and when they finish their detective work, they don’t only know “what” or “when”, they know “how” and “why”.
- You Will Release Your Inner Child – Children are curious. They are like an empty canvas, waiting to be filled with knowledge and experiences. They don’t have predetermined expectations fogging their judgment. Children absorb the world around with an open mind driven by sheer curiosity. Curiosity can help open your mind too.
- You Will Experience Something Fresh – New experiences are one of the most exciting acts of living. They simulate your mind and free your creative emotion, thus liberating your thoughts from the tension of a daily routine. Be curious, be daring, be alive! Go discover something fresh.
- You Will Increase Your Productivity – A curious mind dives beneath the surface of common acceptance to unravel the details driving the process. The more you comprehend the details, the better you will understand the process. Thus, the more productive you will be.
- You Will Learn More Often – When your curiosity steers you into the unknown you will return with a greater wealth of knowledge. You will stretch the boundaries of your mind. The more you learn, the more you will want to know. Every new awareness will lead you to another stimulating challenge.
- You Will Become More Efficient – Curious people look at a challenge from multiple angles. They discover alternative ways of accomplishing the same task. The greater the pool of possible solutions, the more likely it is that they will expose a better way to get things done.
- You Will Experience a Spice of Variety – Variety is the spice of life, at least that’s what the curious folks understand. There is nothing more boring than repetition. When you allow your curiosity to send you in new directions you add variety into your life. This could be as simple as eating at a new restaurant or taking a new route to work. Don’t confine yourself, go explore.
- You Will Be More Positive – It is much easier to be negative about something than it is to be positive. If you don’t understand something, or it is unusual to your senses, it’s easy to write it off as being useless or dumb. Only when you truly understand something will you be able to appreciate it. Human beings tend to be more positive toward the things they understand. Curiosity naturally broadens a person’s horizons, and thus their understanding of the things around them.
- You Will Establish New Relationships – Your curiosity will lead you down roads you would otherwise not have traveled. On occasion you will almost certainly want to stop and look around. You never know, you may bump into someone you have a lot in common with.
Abortion is one of the touchiest subjects of our time primarily due to widely varying beliefs concerning the exact moment at which “life” actually begins. The pro-choice community agrees with the point of view that abortion helps prevent young children from being born into unhappy homes. The pro-life supporters, however, would strongly disagree with this statement, instead taking the stand that abortion can be compared to ripping someone’s life away without giving them a choice or a chance. In reality there is a vast grey area in between these two extremes. My best friend once told me, “There are two sides to every story.”
I disagree with the labels of pro-choice and pro-life. Their strict affiliation with the subject of abortion is nonsensical. I’ve never met someone who is not in favor of life. Likewise, most levelheaded people realize the importance of liberty and free choice. With the exception of certain stubborn radicals, most people have a fundamental value system that trickles over the lines which divide the pro-choice and pro-life ideologies.