4 Traits to Stand Out and Land Your Dream Job

Are you still looking for your big break?

You’ve got a brilliant idea and a big dream. You’re passionate about selling things that will change people’s lives. You may want to start your own business someday.

By this point, you know you need a few things to achieve your dream. You know you need a mentor. You need partners. You need experience.

You may be chasing down opportunities, but nothing seems to land. Somehow, you can’t convince anyone to bring you on to their team.

Have you been told you’re “not a good fit” for a company you’d LOVE to work with, but don’t know why?

Chances are, you’re missing something key, and you don’t even know it yet.

Are you finished with being rejected?

Let me help.

If you want to work for a winner, you need to know a few secrets. Let me walk you through the traits I look for to help you identify what you need to land the job of your choice.

1. You’ve Got to Have Skills to Get in the Door

“Paper qualification is no longer enough in today’s competitive society. You need skills that people will pay for. Skills make dreams happen. They build economies. They make people rich and famous.” — Emi Iyalla

The first thing I look at if I’m considering you for my team is your skill set. Obviously, If you don’t have the skills, you’re not even going to get your foot in the door.

If you show up to an interview not knowing what’s involved in the position you’re applying for, everyone assumes you can’t read. It’s all there in black and white. Do your homework or don’t show up.

If you want to land a high-level job, not only do you need to have an understanding of the position, but you should be able to bring that knowledge to the table immediately.

Yes, I’m talking about experience. I look for people who have been there, done that, and can help my company do it better.

Learning on the job is important, but the positions you really want require someone who already understands the field they’re working in.

So if you don’t have your skills honed yet, find a way to do that. Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do! Close that gap ASAP.

Take a class. Get a mentor. Subscribe to my blog. Follow other thought leaders.

Find an opportunity that stretches you and practice, practice, practice.

Learn those skills, develop them, hone them to an art — that’s what gets you the first glance when you’re looking to join a dream team.

2. Creativity Earns a Seat at the Table

“Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.” — William Plomer

The business world may be some distance from the world of art and literature, but don’t check your creativity at the door. You’re going to need it.

I always want to work on the cutting edge. That requires a lot of creativity and quick thinking. If you’re like me, you love to be involved in projects that no one has thought of before, or figuring it out how to do it better than anyone ever has.

If you can’t quickly demonstrate that you can think creatively, you’re going to hear those dreaded words, “you’re not a good fit.” But no one is going to tell you it’s because you’re not creative.

Here’s the thing: everyone is creative. Some people have the courage to believe it and apply it.

Finding the person that’s the right fit for my company means challenging new applicants to show me exactly how they work, both alone and with others. Any winning employer wants to understand how you think and develop your ideas.

So when I meet prospective dream team members, I often role play. I’ll give you scenarios to see if you’re good on your feet.

Role-playing is helpful (and fun) because it tells me so much about you.

  • Can you think of good solutions to sudden problems?
  • Are you capable of learning something new?
  • Do you understand directions?
  • Can you execute those instructions in dynamic ways?

As Steve Jobs explained, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

Creativity can get lost in the busyness of the business world, but anyone I work with has to be able to see the bigger picture.

So when you’re looking for the next big opportunity, turn the tables and come up with some role-playing scenarios for yourself. Think about problems you’ve solved in a new way. Think of potential scenarios that someone could throw at you, and how you can blow them away with your response.

How can you develop creativity? Take it from an artist herself: “Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits.” — Twyla Tharp

Keep solving problems. Keep expanding your experiences so you have more material to connect. Practice asking yourself, “What’s another way I could do this even better?”

Especially if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, the ability to connect different ideas into a new one will be invaluable.

3. Showcase Your EQ to Stay in the Room

According to research from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, 85% of your financial success is due to skills in “human engineering” — your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. Shockingly, only 15% is due to technical knowledge.

So although I started this list with skills, it takes more — much more.

Picture the most successful businessperson or the best salesperson (they’re one and the same). What does he or she look like?

Confident to the point of cocky? Pushy? Does he refuse to take no for an answer? Does she not listen to leaders around her?

No, the best salespeople are empathetic.

Awareness of what others want and needs is often a lost art in selling. To sell is to serve. It’s all about helping enough other people get what they want.

The psychology world calls this awareness “EQ” or emotional intelligence. It’s more important than IQ.

Empathy is the icing on the Skills cake. No one wants to work with a jerk, no matter how smart. Any business is a community. And being self-focused is an instant killer for the dream team dynamic.

Having empathy means you’re more in-tune to what people want. Knowing what people want is half the battle in being successful. It gives you solid buying instincts and great selling skills.

If you know what people want, you know what to offer or create to meet that desire. If you know WHY they want it, selling is a slam-dunk.

Are you aware of those around you? Are you able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see from their perspective?

Empathy makes you a great dream team member.

4. Be a Self-Starter to Claim Your Corner Office

“Experience tells you what to do; confidence allows you to do it.” — Stan Smith

Finally, if you want to work with me or anyone else who can rocket-launch your success, you’ve got to be a self-starter.

Any good company will devote time to training employees and preparing them for their role. But if you’re too reliant on constant confirmation, that’s going to become a problem.

What happens when you need to make a quick decision, but the person above you is unavailable? You have to be able to tackle the job without a script.

This goes back to creativity. Not only do you need to come up with new ideas, but you need the guts to put them into action.

So whatever the challenge is, be willing to learn. Whatever direction you’re given, jump in and do it and take it one step farther. That’s what will really “WOW!” your boss, mentor, or partner and give you a leg up for the next opportunity.

These 4 traits are what I look for in a new employee and what any winner will want to see in you.

If you want to work with the richest and most influential names in business (or any sphere, for that matter), you HAVE to have these 4 things. Minimum.

Once you do, you’ll have so many opportunities, you won’t know what to do with them! People like me will be lining up to ask you to join their dream team.

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