Application tips

Jay to the Z – What job seekers can learn from Jay-Z

01 Oct 2019
Jay-Z… one of the most successful rappers in history. His success is phenomenal, but it hasn’t always been like this. Not at all.

Jay-Z’s story reads like the perfect ‘American dream come true’. It involves life lessons everyone can learn from. Especially if you are looking for a new job.

The American Dream is just a dream. You have to make it happen!

Jay-Z hasn’t always been successful. He grew up in a world of violence and drugs and he did not complete his education. He dealt cocaine as a kid and at the age of 12, he shot his brother in the shoulder when he tried to steal Jay-Z’s ring.

Fast forward to 2013. Jay-Z’s net worth is estimated at a whopping $500 Million. Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s net worth is even estimated at over $1 Billion. In addition to (or as a result of) being a successful rapper, Jay-Z also owns a night club, a clothing line, a record label and (until April 2013) an NBA basketball club.

Contrary to popular belief, none of this happened by accident!

5 Lessons job seekers can learn from Jay-Z

  1. I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!

This is Jay-Z’s credo. The rapper doesn’t consider himself as a businessman. He considers, treats and markets himself as a business in itself. That’s why Jay-Z pays so much attention to his personal branding. So should you when you are looking for a new job.

We wrote about the importance of personal branding before. If you know who you are, what you are looking for and what you can offer to your ideal employer, you can easily optimize your LinkedIn profile, your online presence, your resume, your cover letter and your elevator pitch to improve your chances of being found when recruiters are looking for someone with your background, skills and ambitions.

2. I’m far from being a god, but I work god damn hard!

If you deal cocaine as a young kid you don’t just ‘earn’ a showbiz career, a night club, a record label, a basketball club and a glamorous girl like Beyoncé overnight. You have to work hard for it. Do you do whatever it takes to prepare yourself for every job interview?

If you really want to succeed, read up on the history, mission, vision, structure, products, services and people of the organizations you want to work for. And make sure that you can clearly articulate your added value for your future employer in 3 short sentences.

Did you get the job? Excellent! Be happy and do your best to show your added value to your employer. Did someone else get the job? Cheer up and analyze why you didn’t get the job. Eat, sleep, learn, repeat. Every single day. Until you find your dream job. That’s when the work (and fun) really starts.

3. “Remind yourself: nobody is built like you. You design yourself!”

Most job seekers ignore their most important ‘unique selling point’: each candidate is unique. Considering this, it shouldn’t be too hard to land your dream job… if you know what your dream job looks like.

Every company has certain expectations for every position. If your knowledge, expertise and ambitions match these expectations and if you can articulate your added value to the company, others will have to outperform themselves to get ‘your’ job.

4. “My brands are an extension of me. They’re close to me. It’s not like running GM, where there’s no emotional attachment.”

General Motors is a multinational. It may be the perfect working environment for some, but others may find it hard to work passionately for such a large company. If you discover your own brand and if you can define what you are really passionate about, it will be much easier to excel and have a great time at work.

The better the company and the job match your personality, the better you will feel and the better you will perform at work. Don’t settle for second best! Select the positions you want to apply for with care. It will save you much time and stress and it will seriously increase your chances of success.

And last but not least…

5. “I’d rather die enormous than live dormant.”

Be visible and get found! Make sure that the right people see or (at least) can find you when they need you. Are you an extrovert? Then consider attending job fairs and reaching out to companies you want to work with.

Are you an introvert? Then at least make sure that your online profiles are in sync and that they are optimized for search engines. And try to build your online reputation by showcasing/sharing your knowledge and expertise through online presentations, blog posts and status updates on social media. Try to impress anywhere your recruiters may be looking for new candidates.

Success is a verb. Are your ready?

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Maxime van Belle Content Marketeer