You Can Add Luck to Your Job Search

Once you identify what you are in control of throughout your job search, you begin to realize just how much control you have over “creating luck,” which is an integral part of job searching. 

Ask yourself:

  1. Do you often blame your circumstances on bad luck?  
  2. How can you add more luck to your life? 

There are many things you can do to increase your job search luck. Meeting more people will make you luckier. Learning more skills will make you luckier. Becoming comfortable with taking risks and failing will make you luckier. Helping others will make you luckier. A well-crafted, result-oriented, optimized LinkedIn profile will make you luckier.   

There is a tendency to think that luck is entirely random and uncontrollable, which leads to a victim mentality that successful people are lucky and we are not. Furthermore, when we succeed, we often minimize it due to luck, which undermines our self-esteem.

Without getting too existential, life’s hard truth is that every action we take is uncertain; therefore, there is an element of luck in everything we do. I am sure you have experienced more than once having done “all the right things” and not having achieved the results you were aiming for. Job searching is full of such scenarios. On the other hand, you can do everything wrong and achieve success. This paralyzes many people, but others find ways how to influence being lucky. 

The key to creating luck is to be able to determine what you can and cannot influence. Making such determinations requires extinguishing your ego and any sense of entitlement you may have while doing so.

Anything you cannot influence is simply blind luck. Giving in to these factors and giving them mental energy is pointless. Blind luck includes things like your family, acts of God, where you were born, your life starting point, and the result of any single action you take. The last one is the one you need to come to grips with because many times, despite your best efforts, not everything will go as you wish, which is why the number one factor, which you have complete control over, in creating job search luck is your hustle.

In other words, are you taking enough shots at your goal? Do you believe in your actions, or are you going through the motions? 

Because we want “easy” (READ: feel entitled to), we drastically underestimate the number of attempts we must make before finding what respectively works for us to achieve the success we are after.

When we see success stories, we only see the end of the success story; we do not see all the struggles, failures and hustle between the beginning and the end. 

The second most important factor in creating luck is identifying opportunities. Not just any opportunities, but the right opportunities. This entails defining your circle of competence — an area of expertise that matches a person’s skills — which I often talk about. Having more than a rudimentary understanding of your field and industry, relevant topics to your career, skills you need for success or your surrounding political and economic landscape positions you for lucky breaks. Additionally, you will be able to recognize emerging trends and subtle changes and capitalize on them.

Warren Buffett summarized the concept by saying, “Know your circle of competence and stick within it. The size of that circle is not very important; knowing its boundaries, however, is vital.” As Inspector Harry Callahan in Magnum Force, Clint Eastwood simplified the circle of competence concept when he said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

Dancing, music, gardening, and numbers, to name a few, are outside my realm of competency, which I accept; thus, I focus on what I am good at. Focusing on my competencies makes me luckier. After all, am I not more likely to succeed by doing what I am good at and enjoy versus trying to succeed outside my circle of competence? 

The third factor in creating luck is to stand out so luck finds you. Being visible is crucial to being lucky, hence why networking is undoubtedly the most efficient way to find a job. Thanks to social media, promoting yourself, and connecting with like-minded people, is easier than ever. 

The more people you connect with, the luckier you get — it’s not who you know; it’s who knows you.

In a previous column, I pointed out two life truisms:

  1. The world is made by extroverts for extroverts.
  2. The most connected people are often the most successful.

Being social, talking, learning, and listening to other people’s experiences will make you luckier. Participate in ongoing conversations and your community by building relationships online, posting and commenting on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. As much as possible, spend time talking to people who are ahead of you — who are where you want to be. I like feeling as if I am the dumbest person in the room; that is how I learn. I am sure you know the adage, “The more you know, the further you go,” which can be interpreted as, “The more you know, the luckier you get.”

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Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers “unsweetened” job search advice. You can send Nick your questions to artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

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