Like it or not, much of our success comes due to the help of other people. The opportunities you get, jobs you hold, or fun and useful things you’re able to do often come because someone else was persuaded to bring you along.
To take advantage of these opportunities, however, you’ve got to be able to ask, and ask well. Learning how to ask well, how to apply well, and how to persuade someone to give you a chance is a critical feature of being successful in any field.
Thankfully, it’s not a difficult thing to do. All you have to do is come across as completely and utterly irreplaceable. Simple, right? Here are a few tips to help along the way.
So you’re applying for something. Don’t start your letter with “I’d really like to have this job.” Whoever’s reading your letter can probably guess that. Why do you want the job? Put a “because” in that first sentence – why is this job, in particular, the one you want?
That “because” helps to set you apart, to show your passion and desire for the job. People want to work and spend time with people who want to be there. So why do you want this opportunity more than any other?
Whether it’s a job, a school, or another opportunity, odds are good that if you want it so does someone else. When you’re asking or applying, make sure to remember what it is that you offer that no one else does. Maybe it’s an experience, or a class you took, or some characteristic of your personality that makes you different from all the other people. Highlight that.
No matter what some people might say, there’s no rhyme or reason to standing out as an applicant or prospect – just focus on what makes you you, and different from everyone else. That’s what stands out.
A lot of people have a tendency to ask for help or opportunities as if they’re asking for some grand favor. “I’d be thrilled, and honored,” they sometimes say. While this isn’t a bad thing, you’re going to be more successful if you’re able to communicate that the benefit is mutua l- people are simply more likely to help you out if there’s something in it for them.
Remember what you have to offer, and make it known. If you get the gig, it’s not because of some grand show of altruism; it’s because you were the best for it, and you bring the most value.
Be Confident, But Polite
The point above can make it seem like you should always remember you’re the best, and should tell it to anyone who will listen. That won’t work either. Though being confident in your abilities and recognizing of your value is important, so too is remembering that you’re getting something out of it as well.
Guest posts for blogs is a great example – you’re helping them by writing a post, saving them the work, and adding a new voice to the blog. They’re helping you by providing you published work, a link to your work, and some exposure and practice for you. You’re helping each other – be cognizant, and thankful, of that.
Opportunities offered by other people can be a source of major success for all of us. Whether you’re looking for a job, a gig, or a worthwhile experience, your success is frequently in the hands of other people.
The key to landing these opportunities is to make yourself impossible to say no to. By remembering these tips, you’re in a position to make yourself incredibly hard to turn down, and the success you see in landing these opportunities will start to rise.
What else can we do to set ourselves apart?
Photo: nick see