The Caveman’s Guide to Starting Your Career
By Rafael Herrera, Career Consultant, Online Campus Support Center
In many ways, we as humans still think like cave people. We love pieces of meat deliciously cooked over a fire, we still have caves (lady or man cave) and we still work and live in tribes. Our tribal families have ensured that we keep potential threats to our prosperity away. Like cave people did, modern man still works to maintain the safety and unity of those we deem “like us.” I’m almost certain you’ve thought this way in your own life like when you over-analyze your child’s dating choices, or when a stranger knocks on your door.
This kind of caution is normal, and businesses exercise it every day. That’s what the hiring process is all about. Would you, a potential candidate, help ensure the success of the company tribe or destroy it from within? Are you a “correct fit” for the company? Getting through the hiring process is difficult because we have to find a way into a closed group structure, and developing that instinctive trust can be difficult. If you know your industry as an outsider, that is exactly how you will be perceived: as an outsider. Thankfully, there is always a way to prove to the tribe that you are one of them and would fit in to help move them into the biggest mansion caves in the area. The following are a couple of tips to help you join your desired tribe more easily.
People – Even Cave People – Can Spot a Faker
Deciding to begin a career is a pledge to yourself. You’ve pledged that you will put a roof over your head and food on the table. You’ve made your choice, so fully commit to it. Commit so that you aren’t just a faker.
Have you explored beyond the books and assignments in your classes? Have you been reading the industry magazines? Do you know your industry beyond just a shallow understanding? Those who know the field as an insider will be seen as an insider. If you are uninformed about your chosen industry, people can see it. Knowledge of the ins and outs of your industry helps you show that you are one of the tribe already and are just looking for a place to hang your hat.
Show the Tribe What You Can Provide
When looking for a place in a company, you have to understand that no tribe will just bring you aboard out of kindness. Like everyone else in these groups, you have to be able to pull your own weight and bring innovation, at a minimum. You have to give them a reason to think of you as an asset. Do you have a new way of making fire or finding sales leads? Have you invented the wheel or developed software solutions that cut costs? You have plenty of opportunities to show an employer what you can do through resumes, informational interviews, job interviews, LinkedIn and more.
Each of us has a great deal to offer a tribe. The hard part is showing people that you are the right choice or that they should even give you the time of day. If you follow these tips, you will get one step closer to proving you have value to whatever tribe or company that you are looking to join. Once they see that you have plenty to offer and are just one of the group, you’ll find that the mental connection to bringing you on as a team member isn’t too far away. And that’s the goal: making the psychological connection an easy one.
Rafael Herrera serves as a career consultant at Colorado Technical University working with students through career courses and coaching. He holds a master’s degree in community counseling from Argosy University and a bachelor’s in psychology from Loyola University Chicago. Rafael also publishes CTU’s biweekly career-services newsletter.
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