Last week I promised to find Shakespearean inspiration and advice for independent contractors, and really job seekers of all stripes. As promised, here are three more quotes that have applicability:
“To business that we love we rise…and go to’t with delight.” Antony and Cleopatra
This idea isn’t necessarily new or provocative. When you love what you do, it doesn’t seem like work. This doesn’t mean that work becomes play or that it won’t at times still be frustrating or challenging, and it doesn’t mean that you can necessarily get paid to ski or watch movies, although a few people do. The rest of us need to find a way to combine what we love and our career. For example, with technology a key component of any business today, companies in all industries need IT professionals. Seek opportunities at a company that makes ski equipment or produces movies. Think broadly about what you “love” to do, don’t stop with your hobbies. Do you like to travel or work with the public or are you happier in more solitary settings? Choose work that gives you these opportunities and like Marc Antony, you’ll enjoy getting up and going to work.
“An honest tale speeds best being plainly told.” Richard III
I hope it is obvious that this is the resume and job interview quote. I cannot stress this enough: be honest about yourself on paper and in person. Lying and embellishment never works and the papers are full of stories about high profile individuals who did so and paid the price. The quote also reminds us that not just honesty but simplicity should be the rule of thumb. In crafting your resume use short declarative sentences and highlight the accomplishments that are relative to the job you are applying for, not everything you’ve ever done. The right information is more powerful than an overload of stuff. There’s tons of advice out there about resume writing and it’s worth investing some time on it. Prepare carefully for interviews too. Practice what you want to say so that you don’t stumble over your words or get bogged down in extraneous details or asides. Again, the web has hundreds of sample interview questions to help you. Richard III isn’t a particularly honest character. Remember the advice that he didn’t take and you’ll find better success in the job market.
“Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” Julius Caesar
This quote sounds a familiar theme for me: you can’t wait for things to happen for you, you must be the agent of change in your own career. Don’t wait to be given a promotion, earn it and ask for the recognition. If you aren’t happy in your current position, don’t wait to be rescued, get out there and look for something better. Don’t have the skills you want or that your employer of choice is looking for? Then be proactive and find training or education opportunities to fill the gaps in your resume. Not sure where to start? Reach out to someone doing a job that you would like to do and ask what skills and experience they needed to land the position and how they got them. Contracting assignments can also be a good way to gain experience. Successful people are not fated to be that way they are masters of their own careers. Actively managing your professional development and career path are essential, in ancient Rome as well as today.