Here are five life and work lessons Apple CEO Steve Jobs would offer you today as they enter a tight job market and an uncertain future.
Follow Your Heart, Not the Joneses. Far too many people are unsatisfied in their careers because they chose a path that made their neighbors or friends “rich.” “You’ve got to find what you love,” Jobs told Stanford graduates in 2005. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. You somehow already know what you truly want to become.”
Make a Dent in the Universe. Choose to be world-class at whatever path you choose. In 1983, on a balcony overlooking New York’s Central Park, Steve Jobs turned to then PepsiCo president John Sculley, who Jobs was trying to recruit to join Apple, and asked, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?” Sculley would later write that the question would hit him like a punch to the gut. You will never inspire anyone unless you’re inspired yourself. Find something that inspires you to pursue higher levels of achievement.
Sell the Benefit. Jobs never introduces a new product without a clear explanation of the problem it solves. For example, when he introduced the iPhone in January, 2007, he spent time explaining the limitations of the existing SmartPhones, including an awkward stylus and a keyboard which took up one-third of the space on the phone. The iPhone, Jobs argued, would solve those problems. Approach job interviews the same way. The fact that you graduated with honors doesn’t tell a recruiter how you’re going to solve the company’s problems. Do research on the company, its competitors and its challenges. Make the connection between your accomplishments in school and how that experience will help the company achieve greater success.
Articulate a Twitter-Friendly Vision. Steve Jobs has a vision for every product he introduces. The vision can easily fit in a 140-character Twitter post. For example, when Jobs introduced the MacBook Air in 2008, he simply said, “It’s the world’s thinnest notebook.” If that’s all you knew about the computer, it would tell you a lot. As a young professional, your personal brand is the most important brand of all. Treat your brand like an Apple product and ask yourself, “If I had to describe my brand in a Twitter post, what would I say?”
©2009 Carmine Gallo, author of The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience
Carmine Gallo is a presentation, media-training, and communication-skills coach for the world’s most admired brands. He is an author and columnist for Businessweek.com and and a keynote speaker. Visit him at www.carminegallo.com.