A Little Happier: More Advice about How to Be Successful–Check Every Box.

Last week, I talked about some excellent advice I got very indirectly — from my law-school roommate’s ex-boyfriend. You never know where good advice will come from.

Here’s something else he told me: Try to check every box. If you want a job or a position, make yourself the easy, non-controversial, inevitable choice by meeting every criteria possible.

This advice sounds rather obvious, but I’ve been surprised by how often it has come in handy.

This mini-episode is brought to you by The Happiness Project — my #1 New York Times bestselling book that stayed on the list for two years. Intrigued? Read a sample chapter here, on “Boost Energy.”

Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

 

 Happier listening!

  • Mimi Gregor

    This advice makes a lot of sense. Normally, when we are applying for a job, we think about what WE want. Oh, we may have a list of our accomplishments, schooling, etcetera, but we don’t think about the intangibles that they are looking for that aren’t present on a resumé: will this person be on time every day… will they call in sick very often… will their personalities blend in with others who work here, or will there be personality clashes. It does seem that if you can sit back and brainstorm the intangible things that they are looking for and try to convey that you are what they are looking for, perhaps even a substandard resumé might not be as much of a problem as one would think. Mind you, this is speculation, but it sounds very interesting.

    • I have been on both sides of the table. I did not apply for jobs I was
      not 100% qualified for. But I did give a thumbs-up for hire to persons
      who did not check all of the boxes. They got hired and turned out to be
      great. True, I had not been the (only) one writing that checklist, so I
      was ok to go beyond it with an open mind and see if that person can
      really do the job. https://www.tet.guru/

  • Deborah S

    Thank you, Gretchen, for sharing this good tip.

  • Dana E

    Yes, but this also puts more conscientious persons (generally women) at a disadvantage:

    “Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.”

    I have been on both sides of the table. I did not apply for jobs I was not 100% qualified for. But I did give a thumbs-up for hire to persons who did not check all of the boxes. They got hired and turned out to be great. True, I had not been the (only) one writing that checklist, so I was ok to go beyond it with an open mind and see if that person can really do the job.

    Most job postings are a laundry list of wishes, a mishmash of buzzwords and HR/managerial concerns. But at least in some fields of work there’s plenty of flexibility around it and not because of “oh let’s just hire someone, anyone”.

  • Tom Diersch

    This is great advice but I think we have to go a little further. Mimi makes a good point in that the job description identifies what the hiring company wants. They spent a lot of time developing the posting. What is the job really like? What kind of person are we looking for? Your first task should be to “deconstruct” the ad. Identity all the Akil’s knowledge and abilities that they want. Then respond to them all. Simple but rarely done.