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The Three Cs to Getting Any Job

The Three Cs to Getting Any Job

(Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from Brian Tracy’s new book, “Earn What You’re Really Worth: Maximize Your Income at Any Time in Any Market”. Brian Tracy’s extensive personal studies in business, sales, management, marketing, and economics enabled him to move up to become the head of a $265 million company before he turned his attention to consulting, training, and personal development. For more information on the author, please visit his website and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.)

There are three Cs to getting the kind of job you want and earning the kind of money you want to earn. These three Cs basically remain constant throughout your working career.

They are contacts, credibility, and competence.

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First, the more contacts you have in the marketplace, the more likely it is you will find the job you want. The more people you know and who know you, the more likely it is you will uncover one of the 85 percent or more of job openings that are never listed anywhere.

This is why it is so important for you to network continually. Join clubs and associations. Ask people for referrals and references. Tell your friends, relatives, and associates that you are in the market for a new job. Make sure that everyone you know is aware that you are available and looking for a job.

Nothing is more important than your circle of contacts. The great majority of jobs that are filled in the hidden job market are filled because someone knows someone. And you can expand your range of contacts just by telling people that you are available and asking for their help and their advice.

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Your Reputation Is Important

The second C is credibility. This is made up of your reputation and your character. Your credibility is the most important single quality about you in terms of getting recommendations and referrals from your contacts.

Make sure that everything you do is consistent with the highest ethical standards. Make sure that you never say or do anything that could be misconstrued by anyone as anything other than excellent conduct and behavior.

Remember, people will only recommend you for a job opening if they are completely confident that they will not end up looking foolish as a result of something you do or say.

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Be Good at What You Do

The third C is competence. In the final analysis it is how good you are and how good you have been in your previous jobs that will determine, more than anything else, how good you can be at the job under consideration. Next to your character, your level of competence will be the single most important factor in determining your success in your career. This is why you must be continually working to maintain and upgrade your levels of competence through personal study all your working life.

The Seven Qualities Most in Demand

Every employer has had a certain amount of experience with both good and bad employees. For this reason every employer has a pretty good idea of what he or she wants more of. Here are the big seven:

  1. The first quality that employers look for is intelligence. In every study, it has been found that fully 76 percent of the productivity and contribution of an employee will be determined by his or her level of intelligence. Intelligence in this sense means the ability to plan, to organize, to set priorities, to solve problems, and to get the job done. Intelligence refers to your level of common sense and your practical ability to deal with the day-to-day challenges of the job. The key to demonstrating your intelligence is for you to ask intelligent questions. One of the hallmarks of intelligence that is immediately evident is curiosity. The more you ask good questions and listen to the answers, the smarter you appear.
  2. The second quality sought by employers is leadership ability. Leadership is the willingness and the desire to accept responsibility for results. It’s the ability to take charge, to volunteer for assignments, and to accept accountability for achieving the required results of those assignments. The mark of the leader is that he or she does not make excuses. You demonstrate your willingness to be a leader in the organization by offering to take charge of achieving company goals and then committing yourself to performing at high levels.
  3. Integrity is the third quality sought by employers. It’s probably the most important single quality for long-term success in life and at work. Integrity begins by being true to yourself. This means that you are perfectly honest with yourself and in your relationships with others. You are willing to admit your strengths and weaknesses. You are willing to admit where you have made mistakes in the past. Especially, you demonstrate loyalty. You never say anything negative about a previous employer or a person whom you have worked with or for. Even if you were fired from a previous job, never say anything negative or critical.
  4. The fourth quality that employers look for is likability. Employers like people who are warm, friendly, easygoing, and cooperative with others. Employers are looking for people who can join the team and be part of the work family. Men and women with good personalities are invariably more popular and more effective at whatever they do. Teamwork is the key to business success. Your experience in working as part of a team in the past and your willingness to work as part of a team in the future can be among the most attractive things about you in applying for a job.
  5. Competence is the fifth quality sought by employers. We spoke about this earlier. Competence is terribly important to your success. It is really the foundation of everything that happens to you in your career. In its simplest terms, competence is the ability to get the job done. It is the ability to set priorities, to separate the relevant from the irrelevant tasks, and then to concentrate single-mindedly until the job is complete.
  6. Courage is the sixth quality that employers look for. This is the willingness to take risks. Courage also means the willingness to accept challenges, the willingness to take on big jobs or even new jobs where there is a high degree of uncertainty and the possibility of failure. Courage also means the willingness to speak up and say exactly what you think and feel in a difficult situation. Employers admire men and women who are not afraid to speak their minds. And you demonstrate this in a job interview when you ask frank and direct questions about the company, the position, and the future that you might have with the organization
  7. The final quality employers look for is inner strength. Inner strength means that you have the determination and the ability to persevere in the face of adversity. Inner strength means that you have the quality of persistence when the going gets rough. You demonstrate inner strength when you remain calm, cool, and relaxed during the job interview. If you are calm and cool during the interview, it is a good indication that you will be calm and cool in the inevitable crises that occur during the day-to- day operations of the company.

Above all, it is your character, which is the sum total of all your positive qualities, that will have the greatest impact on whether you get the job you want. Your job now is to continue working on your character by practicing the behaviors of top people at every opportunity.

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(Photo credit: Freeway Sign, Next Exit…Dream Job via Shutterstock)

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Last Updated on September 18, 2019

How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

Note-taking is one of those skills that rarely gets taught. Almost everyone assumes either that taking good notes comes naturally or, that someone else must have already taught about how to take notes. Then, we sit around and complain that our colleagues don’t know how to take notes.

I figure it’s about time to do something about that. Whether you’re a student or a mid-level professional, the ability to take effective, meaningful notes is a crucial skill. Not only do good notes help us recall facts and ideas we may have forgotten, the act of writing things down helps many of us to remember them better in the first place.

One of the reasons people have trouble taking effective notes is that they’re not really sure what notes are for. I think a lot of people, students and professionals alike, attempt to capture a complete record of a lecture, book, or meeting in their notes — to create, in effect, minutes. This is a recipe for failure.

Trying to get every last fact and figure down like that leaves no room for thinking about what you’re writing and how it fits together. If you have a personal assistant, by all means, ask him or her to write minutes; if you’re on your own, though, your notes have a different purpose to fulfill.

The purpose of note-taking is simple: to help you work better and more quickly. This means your notes don’t have to contain everything, they have to contain the most important things.

And if you’re focused on capturing everything, you won’t have the spare mental “cycles” to recognize what’s truly important. Which means that later, when you’re studying for a big test or preparing a term paper, you’ll have to wade through all that extra garbage to uncover the few nuggets of important information?

What to Write Down

Your focus while taking notes should be two-fold. First, what’s new to you? There’s no point in writing down facts you already know. If you already know the Declaration of Independence was written and signed in 1776, there’s no reason to write that down. Anything you know you know, you can leave out of your notes.

Second, what’s relevant? What information is most likely to be of use later, whether on a test, in an essay, or in completing a project? Focus on points that directly relate to or illustrate your reading (which means you’ll have to have actually done the reading…). The kinds of information to pay special attention to are:

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Dates of Events

Dates allow you to create a chronology, putting things in order according to when they happened, and understand the context of an event.

For instance, knowing Isaac Newton was born in 1643 allows you to situate his work in relation to that of other physicists who came before and after him, as well as in relation to other trends of the 17th century.

Names of People

Being able to associate names with key ideas also helps remember ideas better and, when names come up again, to recognize ties between different ideas whether proposed by the same individuals or by people related in some way.

Theories or Frameworks

Any statement of a theory or frameworks should be recorded — they are the main points most of the time.

Definitions

Like theories, these are the main points and, unless you are positive you already know the definition of a term, should be written down.

Keep in mind that many fields use everyday words in ways that are unfamiliar to us.

Arguments and Debates

Any list of pros and cons, any critique of a key idea, both sides of any debate or your reading should be recorded.

This is the stuff that advancement in every discipline emerges from, and will help you understand both how ideas have changed (and why) but also the process of thought and development of the matter of subject.

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Images

Whenever an image is used to illustrate a point, a few words are in order to record the experience.

Obviously it’s overkill to describe every tiny detail, but a short description of a painting or a short statement about what the class, session or meeting did should be enough to remind you and help reconstruct the experience.

Other Stuff

Just about anything a professor writes on a board should probably be written down, unless it’s either self-evident or something you already know. Titles of books, movies, TV series, and other media are usually useful, though they may be irrelevant to the topic at hand.

I usually put this sort of stuff in the margin to look up later (it’s often useful for research papers, for example). Pay attention to other’s comments, too — try to capture at least the gist of comments that add to your understanding.

Your Own Questions

Make sure to record your own questions about the material as they occur to you. This will help you remember to ask the professor or look something up later, as well as prompt you to think through the gaps in your understanding.

3 Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

You don’t have to be super-fancy in your note-taking to be effective, but there are a few techniques that seem to work best for most people.

1. Outlining

Whether you use Roman numerals or bullet points, outlining is an effective way to capture the hierarchical relationships between ideas and data. For example, in a history class, you might write the name of an important leader, and under it the key events that he or she was involved in. Under each of them, a short description. And so on.

Outlining is a great way to take notes from books, because the author has usually organized the material in a fairly effective way, and you can go from start to end of a chapter and simply reproduce that structure in your notes.

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For lectures, however, outlining has limitations. The relationship between ideas isn’t always hierarchical, and the instructor might jump around a lot. A point later in the lecture might relate better to information earlier in the lecture, leaving you to either flip back and forth to find where the information goes best (and hope there’s still room to write it in), or risk losing the relationship between what the professor just said and what she said before.

2. Mind-Mapping

For lectures, a mind-map might be a more appropriate way of keeping track of the relationships between ideas. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of mind-mapping, but it might just fit the bill.

Here’s the idea:

In the center of a blank sheet of paper, you write the lecture’s main topic. As new sub-topics are introduced (the kind of thing you’d create a new heading for in an outline), you draw a branch outward from the center and write the sub-topic along the branch. Then each point under that heading gets its own, smaller branch off the main one. When another new sub-topic is mentioned, you draw a new main branch from the center. And so on.

The thing is, if a point should go under the first heading but you’re on the fourth heading, you can easily just draw it in on the first branch. Likewise, if a point connects to two different ideas, you can connect it to two different branches.

If you want to neaten things up later, you can re-draw the map or type it up using a program like FreeMind, a free mind-mapping program (some wikis even have plug-ins for FreeMind mind-maps, in case you’re using a wiki to keep track of your notes).

You can learn more about mind-mapping here: How to Mind Map: Visualize Your Cluttered Thoughts in 3 Simple Steps

3. The Cornell System

The Cornell System is a simple but powerful system for increasing your recall and the usefulness of your notes.

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About a quarter of the way from the bottom of a sheet of paper, draw a line across the width of the page. Draw another line from that line to the top, about 2 inches (5 cm) from the right-hand edge of the sheet.

You’ve divided your page into three sections. In the largest section, you take notes normally — you can outline or mind-map or whatever. After the lecture, write a series of “cues” into the skinny column on the right, questions about the material you’ve just taken notes on. This will help you process the information from the lecture or reading, as well as providing a handy study tool when exams come along: simply cover the main section and try to answer the questions.

In the bottom section, you write a short, 2-3 line summary in your own words of the material you’ve covered. Again, this helps you process the information by forcing you to use it in a new way; it also provides a useful reference when you’re trying to find something in your notes later.

You can download instructions and templates from American Digest, though the beauty of the system is you can dash off a template “on the fly”.

The Bottom Line

I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface of the variety of techniques and strategies people have come up with to take good notes. Some people use highlighters or colored pens; others a baroque system of post-it notes.

I’ve tried to keep it simple and general, but the bottom line is that your system has to reflect the way you think. The problem is, most haven’t given much thought to the way they think, leaving them scattered and at loose ends — and their notes reflect this.

More About Note-Taking

Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

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