There are tons of articles out there that discuss advancing your career—about seven million, to be exact. It shouldn’t be surprising to see why it’s a confusing topic. While there is no magic bullet, simple strategies can be taken to land the opportunities you want.

As I enjoyed a delicious breakfast with Stacey, a talented leader in the tech industry, I marveled at a story she shared about a young man, Keith, who has gone from being brand new in the industry to vying for a producer position in less than two years.

“He may just get it too, Misti,” Stacey shared, “And he’s up against well-established, credentialed producers who have a clear understanding of how to communicate across teams.”

Intrigued, I asked about what Keith had done to become one of the top two candidates vying for this position.

“If I didn’t know better, Misti, I would think he was being coached directly by you—seriously!” Stacey said, and then began listing the following actions he’d taken:

  • Took it upon himself (time and money) to get scrum master certified after he found out the training was critical to the position.
  • Reached out to a few producers and asked for a meeting to learn about what they do every day. He even job-shadowed them several times, helping out where he could.
  • Sent follow up emails to those producers, thanking them for their time and explaining what he’d learned.
  • Found out the position was coming available, and applied.
  • Demonstrated both passion and interest as we went through the interview process—“His enthusiasm is infectious,” Stacey said.
  • Sent “Thank you” emails to every person who was part of the interview process. In fact, here’s one of the emails he sent…

“I appreciate having had the opportunity to speak with you about the open Producer position. I am eager to apply the experience I’ve gained and help facilitate the needs of our teams while ensuring we deliver a product that our players will enjoy. I would also like to thank you again for the time you’ve spent giving me an inside look into how you work as a Producer and sharing your experiences with me that I can learn from. I’m looking forward to hearing the results of the interview and would be thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of the Production team.”

After learning all this, I asked Stacey to compare these two candidates, along with her thought process for both.

“The veteran employee knows our processes, making it far easier to transition him into the position, immediately alleviating the burden to our extra load. Initially, Keith will take more effort to get going, but he may also bring fresh ideas, and help strengthen our processes,” Stacey said.

“Which one do you think your team will pick?” I asked, secretly hoping she’d say Keith. Okay, maybe it wasn’t so secret. 😉

“Probably the veteran employee, but I’m just not sure yet,” she said.

“Even if we pick the veteran this go round, I will personally meet with Keith and let him know that all his work has not gone unnoticed. I will keep my eyes and ears open for future opportunities, both within our company and elsewhere. I want to see him succeed,” Stacey said.

While they may need to go for the short-term benefits of experience this time, Keith will walk away with the bare minimum of interviewing experience, a team of producers who have been inspired by his hustle, and at least one career advocate.

Which candidate would you pick?

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou

Get inspired, share your enthusiasm, invest in yourself, say “thank you,” and apply for the position. Do this over and over again, and watch as you naturally progress into the opportunities you crave.

Find this information valuable? Please share the wealth! Forward it to your friends, colleagues, and bosses… and be sure to share on social media.

Here’s to your greatness,

Misti Burmeister

P.S. Imagine the difference it could make for the veteran employee if he found a way to keep his enthusiasm high and his perspective fresh. Just as consistent exercise is critical to long-term health, exposure and inspiration are critical to enthusiasm and a fresh perspective.

P.P.S. If you’d like to attract the NFL players of your industry and aren’t sure where to begin, check out my latest book.