Stephen Covey's Career Advice To Get Any Job You Want - Part 1

By James Mills, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International

"I have given this counsel over and over and over again to many people through the years. A small percentage took it, and in almost every case, they succeeded in getting the job they wanted."

- Dr Stephen R. Covey, Author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

There are millions, if not billions, of people across the world who are not in job roles that provide them the levels of meaning, purpose and fulfilment they are looking for.

So, if you're looking to change roles, employers, industries - or simply to get a job after time out of work - then this article is not only must-read, but also must-learn and must-apply!!

It contains some highly effective advice from the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People; Dr Stephen R. Covey. As the quote above states; the effectiveness of the advice has more to do with applying it than the advice itself. So in the spirit of his observation, this article will also help with the application of Dr Covey's advice.

The Interdependent Reality of Finding a Job

Often we go through education with a significant focus on what we can do by ourselves, but what Stephen Covey stresses is that finding work is not something that purely relies on our qualifications and even our experiences. Ultimately we need to accept that other people will be involved in the whole process; if nothing else the people making the decision whether or not to hire you!

So what this means is that we need to be able to build influence with people.

How do we do this?

It requires personal reflection and action in line with that discovery work.

Here's Stephen Covey's suggested starting point he provides in The 8th Habit:

"Getting the job you want is clearly a highly interdependent one and relies on effective development of influence with other people.

Now, let's think through how to get the job you want by looking at the same four attributes of personal influence: vision, discipline, passion and conscience. The key is all four. Neglect any one of them and you'll find it much more difficult to get the job you want, and if you do get it, you will likely not be able to sustain what committed to and what it requires of you. 

First of all, to even get a vision, you need to know what this job is. Use discipline to figure out what the job actually entails. Use discipline to understand the job, to understand the organization you want to be employed by, to understand the unique requirements of the job, and to understand the marketplace so that you understand the forces that are in place, including competition, customers' wants and needs, and the characteristics and trends in that industry.

In other words, pay the price to understand the challenges and problems faced by the organization you want to join.

Next, identify where your passion is, e.g., does this job uniquely reflect your talent, gifts, interests, capacities and skills? If so, does your conscience tell you this is a job worthy of being committed to? If so, can you envision yourself working in this manner?

After you've done all this preliminary work you are ready to go to the job interview - not as another problem for the interviewer to deal with but as a solution to the problems decision-makers are facing."

The Critical Importance of Discovery

What Dr Covey is advocating strongly is that when exploring any career opportunity, we need to take the time upfront to be clear as to what we want and why we want that.

How many people simply look for the next best thing they think they can get?

Do they judge an opportunity purely on salary or job title rather than a clear correlation between their long-term career aims and what's most important to them?

He's imploring us to see that the process of finding meaningful and fulfilling work is not a quick-fix process, but rather one that requires self-investment and soul-searching. What he implies that if we do not do this first, then we risk being caught out in the interview or indeed find ourselves in a role that fails to satisfy us personally and professionally.

Part 2 of Stephen Covey's advice is to follow, but in the meantime here's 9 CEOs sharing their favourite interview questions. 

How To Apply This

    What do you think most people would struggle with when it comes to applying this advice?

    Don't have the vision for their careerLack the discipline to doing the necessary discovery workAre not sure what they are passionate aboutMore focused on the salary than what the work entailsOther:

    Would you value speaking to a mentor about increasing your influence with potential employers and getting the job you want?

    Yes pleaseNo thank you

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