The Secret To Getting a Better Job

The Secret To Getting a Better Job

Adam Rico is a corporate recruiter and career coach. He blogs at Work You Enjoy and you can follow him on Twitter @adampaulrico. He is the author of the free ebook “5 Essential Steps to Landing Your Dream Job.”

He looked at me in disbelief. As if I had told him he owed a million dollars in back taxes. I had just informed him he didn’t get the job. He believed with all his heart he was the best candidate. However, in the interview he inadvertently exposed the selfish way he approached his career and involvement with a team. He wasn’t going to be a fit for the position or the company. So what separates the people who grow their careers and get better jobs from those who don’t?

The secret to getting a better job probably isn’t what you expect. In my experience the secret comes from something Zig Ziglar taught:

“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar


The secret is to make your career less about you and more about helping others succeed. When you help others succeed, in turn, you will find increasing levels of success. Everyone wants the person on their team who will help them get what they want. So how do you ensure your career is focused on aiding the success of others? Here are four suggestions:

1) Know your greatest strengths

Understand the value you bring to the table. What can you do with excellence? How can you best leverage your strengths to serve other people and help them achieve their goals? When you use those strengths for the betterment of your customers, co-workers, or leaders you will be noticed and rewarded.

2) Be genuinely interested in others

Ask your co-workers what their career goals are. Your peers, the people below you, and your manager. Ask about what they want to be doing in their career in the next three years. Then ask them how you can best help them get there. This may feel a bit awkward, but it will pay huge dividends to know what everyone around you is working toward. You can then position yourself as the catalyst to help them achieve their goals.

3) Have a positive attitude

When you need to complete a task or project chances are you have to rely on someone else to reach your goal. If you know someone is going to be difficult to work with you’re going to try everything you can to avoid working with them. Don’t be that difficult person. Be the person who others call on because they know you will always help as much as you can. Be responsive to their needs. Be the one who smiles a lot. 

4) Actively seek solutions for others

Anticipate the needs of others at work beyond your own. Then provide the solution without them even asking. For example, connect people who you know could have a beneficial professional relationship. The goal is to do things that have no apparent direct benefit to you. Others will be amazed at how you consistently provide solutions for them. This will skyrocket your value to an organization and build your brand as an indispensable partner in success.

As I continued to provide feedback to the person who did not get the job he began to disagree and argue with me. He decided the feedback I provided was not valuable and was not in line with how he saw himself. Sadly, it confirmed our assessment that he was not the right fit for the job and would not have added to the success of that particular team. It was an unfortunate outcome to a conversation that could have really helped him achieve success in the future.

You and I have opportunities every day to focus on helping ourselves or helping others succeed. The beauty is when we focus on the latter we get the former.

Question: What have you found to be helpful to getting a better job?

Photo source: lululemon athletica



About Anna Runyan

Anna Runyan has been helping women get their careers unstuck since 2008. She is known for “The Love Your Career Formula” which helps women find new careers they LOVE in 90 days or less and “The Corporate Rescue Plan” which helps women ditch their day jobs and start profitable, freedom-based online businesses in 90 days. Make sure you sign up for her Free ‘CHEAT SHEET’– 7 proven steps to get out of a job you hate and into a career you love.


  1. Prayer, prayer, and more prayer. I believe that God will always show you His path it may just come in His time, not yours. Great post!

  2. 4streegrrl says:

    “The secret is to make your career less about you and more about helping others succeed.”

    I absolutely agree. I have grown as a person and professional in my career of choice over the past several years, in part because I have stepped up/ out of my comfort zone to do the ugly work that no one else wanted to do, to work as part of a team, to do what I can to improve workplace morale and engagement, and to help others grow by showing leadership and coaching my peers to step outside their own comfort zones. I try to do these things while working within the bounds of being a lowly peon. :) I feel like a good candidate for growing into a real leadership role, such as the supervisory temporary appointment I recently competed on: the TA was created specifically to provide developmental opportunities for the peons because so few supervisor-level positions exist.

    Unfortunately, I work with a management team who has a long history of being conflict avoiders, will not deal with problem employees (and instead make those people the problem of more “accommodating and flexible” staff… like me! oh the stories I have…), have poor communication skills, do not recognize that our office environment is toxic in many situations because management has kept their heads low and doors closed to the problems, and generally do NOT engage in any of the points you make above.

    When we did the interview – actually, an informal half-hour “chat” with three pretty basic questions on workload priorities, office integration and supervision – I did my best to demonstrate how supervision and engagement should *really* be, without criticizing their own performance. I thought I did really well.

    However, the person who won the supervisory TA is the one who currently engages the least in the office, rarely steps up and volunteers for the dirty work, shows little passion for his work and instead ‘memorizes’ important issues and recites them, and generally demonstrates the same traits that current management exhibits. My husband pointed out to me that their choice for the position had nothing to do with merit or potential for supervisory awesomeness; it had everything to do with management wanting the person who is least likely to rock the boat and to be just like them.

    And that is disappointing. However, I will endeavour to be the best employee that I can be and get feedback from the competition so I can find out (if possible) how they made their decision. I don’t want to make the same mistakes that managers are currently making; I just need to figure out how to get their attention. If that doesn’t work, I’ll be moving on.

    • Sounds like you have a good plan to move forward in your career. The only person you can control in this situation (or any for that matter) is you. I encourage you to keep reaching for higher levels of success with your integrity intact.

  3. Amanda Frank says:

    I graduated from college 5 years ago and was lucky enough to land a job 3 days before graduation. Since then, I’ve had 3 different jobs, each one better than the last! Every time I went to an interview I kept hearing the same thing over and over again… “we are looking for someone with experience” or “We want someone who we can teach and who can pick things up quickly”. I guess what really made a difference for me was that I took those phrases and really made them a part of my everyday. I threw myself in to my work learning everything I could, about everything I could. I didn’t just learn my job, but I tried to learn everyone else’s job too. I observed my co-workers and asked questions and it got to the point where I really understood what every single person in my office did. By doing that, I was able to define my work and hold myself to a higher standard. Also, a friend lent me a book she just read called “How to Avoid the Common Failure” by Michael Horton. You can find out more on his website and you can pick up the book at She highly recommends doing both. It’s a great reference and motivational book to really give you a push in the right direction! Does anyone know of any other good reads (books or articles) that have helped them move forward in their careers?

  4. Amanda Frank says:

    Thanks Adam, this is great! I’ll absolutely check them out!


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