Career advice, insights & tips for HR professionals
Courage of the job seeker 04/01/2012
I’m fascinated by courage. My father pointed my interest towards the winners of the Victoria Cross. Having read a few of the citations I became addicted to trying to understand why and how people are prepared to act in a way that seems to go against every human survival instinct.
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Moral and physical courage
I believe that courage can be separated into two groups: moral courage and physical courage. Moral courage is typified by Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela – people who are willing to stand and be counted for a principle or belief – often this does involve physical courage, which is raw, calculated bravery. There can be no greater example of this than Sgt Pilot James Ward VC who in the Second World War, while in flight climbed out onto the wing of his burning Wellington Bomber to quell the flames, so that they could return to England to fight another day.
OK, I hear you say, where do these incredible stories fit in to a job search? Well I think that, to a lesser degree, a job seeker has to display both types of courage.
- One of the hardest parts of searching for a new role is ‘getting out there’ to network, asking advice and seeking referrals. It is outside most peoples’ comfort zones and takes a concerted effort.
- Be brave enough to follow up leads, comfortably meet strangers to search out opportunities and sell yourself confidently.
- As a job seeker you should be forever asking for feedback and learning from the response, courageously facing the highlighted shortcomings and addressing them.
- Have the courage to pick up the phone and ask that burning question – what’s the worst that could happen?
- So much is talked about with regard to cultural fit. Stand up to your principles and investigate the employing company – do they espouse the same values as you? Would you thrive there?
- Have a good hard look at how the company is led – think of the opportunities or moral dilemmas you may have if you ignore your instincts of how the business is run.
- Can you honestly add real value? Being open about your development needs is a tough thing to admit to in an interview, but it always pays dividends in the long run; it leads to a far more harmonious and honest relationship.
Be a victorious candidate
In this economy it may be tempting to take the first job that is offered to you, but job seekers must still decide if it is the right role. Turning a role down is a brave thing to do, but knowing you are turning it down for the right reasons is far easier. Conversely, sometimes it is worth taking a risk. Once employed could you drive initiatives that will broaden the opportunity to give you far greater scope for achieving success? How far could you push the boundaries?
You will not win a Victoria Cross as a job seeker but if you have the courage of your convictions and chase what you believe in with confidence and tenacity, you will be able to have the letters VC after your name: Victorious Candidate.
Paul Deeprose, career coach and managing director of The Career Gym
Paul has over 15 years experience of being an HR practitioner, HR Recruiter and HR Career Coach. The Career Gym partners HR and other professionals to generate true career development and success.