Don Miguel Ruiz has written a very powerful book called “The Four Agreements.” First published in 1997, the book lays out four agreements that you can make with yourself that will change the way you see the world and interact with others. To be completely honest there is a spiritual side of the book that’s simply not for me, but I love the practical applications of the four agreements and I try to live by them every day. I also think that making these four agreements can be very powerful in your job search. Here is how I would interpret and apply the agreements.
1) Be Impeccable in your word
You words are powerful – they influence you and those who hear them. Only speak positively about yourself and others. Only speak the truth. Avoid gossip and speculation. In networking and job interviews don’t oversell yourself and suggest that your skills or experience are greater than they are, but at the same time don’t undersell. Skills are transferable, you can learn and grow, so even if you don’t have the exact experience they are seeking, show them how you can compensate and learn. Say exactly what you mean.
2) Don’t take anything personally
Job search can be brutal. There will be jobs that you want, but are offered to others. People will be rude to you. Doors will be closed to you. Take a step back and realize two things. First, hiring managers are trying to do what they think is best for their business. If you are a finalist for a job and they offer the job to someone else, that decision is not because you are a bad person; it is because they felt the other person was a better fit. You wouldn’t have been a finalist if they didn’t think you could do the job. It’s not personal, it was their business decision. And second, take some satisfaction that sometimes they make mistakes – it’s their loss, someone else will get to work with you.
3) Don’t make assumptions
If you have a question, ask it. Don’t assume others know what you know or feel the same way about an issue. Don’t assume they know you are very interested in the job. Don’t assume they know you are interested in relocating. Don’t assume the job comes with health benefits. Bottom line – don’t assume. Ask questions – share information – try to make sure that everyone is crystal clear on the important parts of the job and about you.
4) Always do your best
At the end of the day that’s all you’ve got. They talk about athletes leaving it all on the court. If you’ve done your best, given it everything you have, followed the other three agreements and don’t get the job, then go after the next one. You can’t beat yourself up if you’ve done your best. On the other hand, if you’ve cut corners, we not quite honest (with the recruiter or yourself), and tried to wing-it during the interview, think about it – would you want to hire someone like that?
These are four hard things to do. They are hard in life, and they are hard in job search. But, I guarantee that if you make these four agreements part of your core values, you will be successful in more than just your job search. I encourage you to read the book and understand Ruiz’s full message, but more than that, I encourage you to embrace these four agreements.
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