Make Your Mistakes Where They Don't Count

job search May 18, 2021

Each of us make mistakes. It's part of the human nature. My advice: make your mistakes where they don't count. Hopefully, we learn from past mistakes so that we don't repeat them. Ralph Waldo Emerson said "That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do. Not that the nature of the thing has changed, but that our power to do has increased."

Major league baseball teams do not play for the world series in the spring. They prepare for the season with spring training. They play multiple games and work to learn from each one and improve the next one. Then, after all this preparation and practice they face the toughest teams for the pennant and then the world series.

Finding a job requires many skills. Job seekers write resumes, cover letters, and online applications. They interview technical and non-technical people to gather information and verify corporate priorities and challenges they can help to resolve. In addition, they must present their skills and experiences in a way that focuses recruiters and decision makers on what they want to know rather than distract with superfluous information.

Many people when they lose their jobs immediately contact their dream companies. Sadly, since they typically have not used their job search skills in a while--they make mistakes. They make their mistakes with the companies they most want to work for. Then, they don't get the jobs. Another variation, they first contact the decision maker or highest ranked person in the company. Their lack of information creates mistakes in the meeting. As a result, they don't impress the person the wanted to impress the most.

We propose an approach to preparing yourself with the practice that eliminates the probability of mistakes. Prepare the questions you want to ask people and the answers you want to give them. Then practice saying them 10 times to:

  1. Yourself then
  2. Family and friends then
  3. Former colleagues then
  4. Companies that don't interest you that much then
  5. Companies that truly interest you

Making your mistakes where they don't count leaves you prepared to impress the right people when you need to whether it's the right companies or the right people within the companies.

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