Career advice can appear in many forms. It can be verbal from a trusted Career Coach or read in a recommended book. Twenty years ago, I was encouraged to read a book titled “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. I was told that I would find something special that would assist me to reflect, rethink and revise my job search.
This bestselling paperback is still very popular and is promoted as an inspirational book that offers a code of conduct to transform self-limiting beliefs into a new experience of freedom and true happiness. For me “The Four Agreements” was a roadmap that immediately connected to the roller coaster of unemployment, the struggle of job search and the complexities of career planning.
The following is a summarized definition of each “agreement” and how each connects to career development.
1. Be impeccable with your word.
Definition: Always speak with integrity and say only what you mean. Avoid using words to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of words in a positive direction.
Career connection: Being impeccable with words is essential when writing resumes, cover letters, email messages, LinkedIn content, and when speaking at job interviews or on the job. Employers seek candidates who are compelling communicators and who can explain in easy-to-understand terms how they can support profitability and productivity. Words are powerful when writing and speaking, and one wrong answer at an interview or at a work meeting, can create a negative impression that can harm your career.
2.Do not take anything personally.
Definition: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, and when you are immune to the opinions and action of others, you will not be the victim of needless suffering.
Career connection: The workplace is constantly in a state of change due to various reasons including changing demographics, technological advancement and increased competitive pressure. If you lose your job, or have to take a job where you are underemployed, try not to tie changes in income, position title, and perceived professional status to your self-esteem and self-confidence. You cannot control what happens in the workplace however you can control where you give your time, energy and attention.
3.Do not make assumptions.
Definition: Find the courage to ask questions and express what you want. Communication should always have clarity to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.
Career connection: Statistics prove that the most successful way of securing a job interview is by networking. Whether you are connecting with others using LinkedIn or through volunteer work, your verbal and written communication should be focussed, uncluttered and understandable. Your networking contacts cannot support you if they do not know your employability strengths. To advance in your career, find out the expectations of the employer instead of assuming or guessing.
4.Always do your best.
Definition: Your best will change from moment to moment. It will be different when you are healthy, unwell, employed or unemployed. Under all circumstances, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse and regret.
Career connection: Employers seek candidates with an upbeat and optimistic attitude, and who are self-motivated to learn and use initiative to support company goals. Your best can be enriched by finding a mentor, becoming organized, building financial independence, and being kind to yourself. Give yourself 30 minutes once a week to pause and reflect on your professional accomplishments. Taking time to stop and to congratulate yourself on balancing work, health, personal growth and leisure goals, can be the most generous way of being nice to yourself. Pat yourself on the back and be proud of who you are and the fact that you are using the wisdom of a bestseller.
To find out more about career planning and job search advice, contact your local Employment Ontario Career Centre and find out if you meet the criteria to use their free services.
This article was written by Lisa Trudel, Career Specialist with Achēv (pronounced “achieve”). You can contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org