Walt Disney wasn’t born into excellence. In fact, it was after he failed to sneak into the armed forces at age 16, and then drove ambulance in France for the Red Cross that he switched to pursuing a career as an artist.
Like so many others, Disney didn’t immediately dive into a successful entrepreneurial career. In 1919 he started out as a newspaper artist. It wasn’t until December 21, 1937 that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated film, was released in Los Angeles. After it produced an unimaginable $1.5 million, in spite of the Depression, Disney’s career finally took off into a world where dreams really do come true.
Let’s take a look at what Disney has taught us about challenging job searches:
While Disney’s dreams brought flying carpets and a talking mouse to life; yours can take you to any career heights you work hard towards. However, putting limits on your career search by not applying to jobs you feel are out of reach, or not being willing to work your way up a notch because the top seems unobtainable, will stifle your efforts and success.
If you’re missing just a few qualifications on a job description, don’t let it hold you back. You’re bigger than the words in the description. Start by customizing your cover letter and resume to highlight the skills you do have that make you a perfect fit.
Back this process up by networking into the company through LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, actively commenting on and sharing posts. Networking is also a great way to find the hiring manager and begin connecting with them directly.
Remember, if Disney hadn’t started working for that newspaper, he might never have drawn the iconic Mickey Mouse, inspiring so many for nearly a century. The same goes for landing your dream career. You have to start somewhere.
Keep in mind, however, that applying to a position when you’re missing most of the necessary qualifications ends up wasting both yours and the company’s time. Instead, start working your way up by interning or applying for a position within the company where your experiences are currently a good match.
Sitting around talking about the job you hope to find won’t get you anywhere. Neither will only applying to a few places and stopping your process there. Fully immerse yourself in the career search by applying on job boards, company websites, and keeping an eye out on social media.
Also, it you’re talking about finding a job, make sure you’re talking to the right people. You never know where connections might lead, so let friends, family, current co-workers, or even acquaintances know you’re searching for a job and the type of position you’d like to find.
Many of us have to really dig down deep to find courage — especially after a long, drawn out career search. Don’t let this vulnerability allow you to forget this process is about you finding your career path, not just about the company or interviewer choosing you.
Courage comes in many forms during the career search process, but it’s most difficult during interviews. Don’t be afraid to ask interviewers questions to determine if the company/position is a good fit. Ask what their work-life balance policies are, what a typical workday looks like, and what the managers do to motivate employees.
If it doesn’t feel like a good fit for you, that’s OK. Respectfully declining an offer will save both you and the company time and money.
Our beloved Disney movies would never have made it to the big screen if Walt wasn’t an innovator. If you’re someone who has new ideas, methods, or products, put them out there. This is especially beneficial during the interview process. Let interviewers know you have a vision and plan to help their company grow.
Rather than applying to a company, maybe, like Disney, you have an entrepreneurial spirit. Find a mentor in the same industry who will understand any obstacles you may encounter. Since they’re already successful, thanks to their innovative and assertive behaviors, they can help guide you through the difficult, but rewarding, process.
You may not be looking to build an empire like Disney, but finding a career that fits your needs, both personal and professional, is a step towards building your life. Show employers you would be an asset to their company and team by sharing previous work situations where you excelled, or even mistakes that you’ve learned from. Let everyone see how you just keep moving forward.
What tips/tricks do you have for getting through a challenging career search? Let us know!