No matter what you do, being successful is all about opportunities. That’s because you can’t become successful until you have the opportunity to become successful. Makes sense, right?
Not only does it make sense, but it also sounds simple. Unfortunately, things that sound simple don’t always turn out to be that way. This is especially applicable to the employment marketplace, and more specifically, to your career.
Below is the basic blueprint for career success:
- To be successful, you must have access to opportunities for success.
- To have access to opportunities for success, you must know about them.
- To take advantage of these opportunities, you must be willing to explore them.
It doesn’t matter how talented you are; you can’t take advantage of opportunities if you don’t know about them. It also doesn’t matter how many opportunities you know about if you’re not willing to be open to exploring them.
Using the blueprint outlined above as a guide, let’s examine some of the reasons that many professionals don’t have access to some premium employment opportunities in the marketplace.
Obstacles to opportunity access
There are three main reasons that some professionals sometimes don’t have access to great job opportunities in the marketplace. All three are centered around the fact that they do not know about these opportunities in the first place. These professionals are not always at fault, but many times they contribute to their own lack of knowledge of what the marketplace has to offer. Let’s examine these three reasons.
#1—The “hidden job market”
We’ve discussed this before, but the “hidden job market” consists of job openings that are not widely circulated through traditional avenues. That means you will not see them on social media and you will not see them posted on the Internet. You won’t even see them posted on the website of the organization that’s attempting to fill them.
Why is this? One word: confidentiality. This is a huge consideration for organizations, especially when they’re trying to fill important, high-level positions. Employers sometimes fill these types of positions in a covert fashion, and they especially do so when they plan to replace an underperforming employee. (The company is NOT going to post the position on its website while the employee is still working for them.)
#2—Efforts of current employers
Let’s face it: if you’re a top performer, then it’s a good bet that your current employer wants to keep you as an employee. As a result, it’s not in the best interests of the organization to make it easy for recruiters to contact their employees about great new opportunities. Their phone systems are structured in such a way as to thwart any such attempts. While from the employer perspective, this certainly makes sense, it underscores the fact that if professionals want to take ownership of their career, they must be proactive—at least to some extent.
#3—Lack of networking efforts
Professionals can “shoot themselves” in the foot by not networking extensively as they should within the industry. As you’ve probably heard countless times, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Of course, I like to use a variation of that saying: “It’s both what you know AND who you know.”
If you’re not engaging in networking activities on a consistent basis, then you’re hurting yourself professionally. Yes, having a LinkedIn account is a start, but that’s all it is: a start. True networking efforts extend beyond the Internet and social media. They include attending conferences and conventions and meeting your peers and others within the industry on a face-to-face basis.
The bottom line and two BIG steps
So the last (and quite possibly the most important) part of the blueprint is a willingness to explore opportunities once you’ve gained access to them. Think about it for a second. Considering all of the obstacles that exist in the marketplace that prevent professionals from knowing about opportunities, it’s almost difficult to fathom that some people will not consider exploring them once they’re revealed. As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes this is due to fear or an unwillingness to leave the comfort zone.
But as I’ve also noted before in articles and blog posts, there’s no risk in at least considering or hearing about a new opportunity. Doing so does not mean that you’re making a commitment of any kind. You’re simply gathering information about what is available to be able to make the best decision for your career.
So what’s the bottom line?
It doesn’t matter if you’re actively looking for a position or not. The bottom line is that if you want to grow your career, then you must be proactive in doing so. If you aren’t, then you will decrease the chances that you’ll have access to the opportunities you really want.
Whereas there were three steps in the blueprint presented at the beginning of this article, I’m going to narrow that list down to two steps. However, these are two BIG steps. If you do nothing else, adhering to these two steps can contribute greatly to your long-term success.
Step #1—Increase your networking efforts.
This is one of the only ways to crack the “hidden job market.” Yes, you can browse through online job postings, but those postings are only a fraction of what is available in the marketplace. Often, the best jobs are not posted online, but are only filled in a covert, confidential fashion. The person who lets you know about the opportunity could be an employee of the organization attempting to fill the position or it could be a recruiter hired to help fill it.
Step #2—Consider premium opportunities that are revealed to you.
When I say consider, I mean truly consider them. Do not dismiss them out of hand. It’s okay to consider an opportunity and then decline it, but only if you truly consider it. Not every opportunity you come across will be the one for you. However, all it takes is one opportunity to change your life forever, both personally and professionally.
Success is ALL about opportunities, and your attitude toward those opportunities will dictate how successful you ultimately are.
We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of organizations. If this is something you would like to explore further, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.