Your Area of DestinyOur Take on Jack Welch's Advice on "How To Get In the Game"

Recently graduate students in their graduation gowns shortly after receiving their degree and commencing their life in employment

It’s commencement season and graduates everywhere will be receiving advice. Today’s advice comes from Jack Welch, former celebrity CEO of General Electric who wrote an article for Quartz magazine with words of advice on ‘How to Get In the Game’.

We recommend reading the article in its entirety, but it contains two succinct pieces of advice that we would like to examine further:

1. Welch Tip #1: Don’t Find A Job. Find Your “Area of Destiny”

The idea of “area of destiny” is not a new one in career advice. It’s the idea of finding the intersection of what you are good at, and what you enjoy doing. In fact, if you search “ideal job” on Google Image Search, you get a lot of such venn diagrams. However, Jack rightly caveats it by stating:

Now, there’s no guarantee that an Area of Destiny job will be easy to find, or pay all that much to begin with. Sometimes an Area of Destiny pursuit shocks everyone around you. “What do you mean you’re going into the Wilderness Adventure industry?” But in time, if you’re working at the juncture of your strengths and passions, the money will usually come. And at least you’ll be thriving emotionally and professionally until it does.

We agree with this advice. Don’t chase the bandwagon. We get hundreds of questions from aspiring candidates on “what major should I choose to do investment banking”, when the more pertinent question should be, how can I find a market for my unique skills and interests.

2. Welch Tip #2: Prepare for the Job Interview

Jack rightly argues that a job interview is not a college test. It takes a lot of preparation to get right. In fact, we love the way he phrases it:

Look, your job interview is not just about you. It is not just about you going on and on about your classes and internships and how much they taught you. It’s not about you claiming to be a team player who’s an outside-the-box thinker with high integrity. Join the club, OK?

The rule of thumb in preparing for the job interview is an hour of preparation for every minute of your expected interview. 30 minute interview? You should have spent 30 hours preparing for it. Prepare on 4 key topics:

  • Have a clear summary of your background that can be delivered in less than 1 minute. Make sure to appropriately address the transitions that have led you to believe that this is the right industry, company and job for you.

  • Have a clear understanding of the industry and the job. You should research extensively to know the industry trends inside out. You should have spoken to people in the industry to have a clear idea of the pros and cons of the job and what the career path looks like.

  • Be prepared and passionate about the company you are interviewing with. Know their stock price (if interviewing at a public company), their key statistics, and their unique market position. Try their products and know why they add value.

  • Be genuinely interested in the person you are meeting with. It’s very easy to do basic research on LinkedIn. Find areas of common ground and use this research to inform your questions at the end of the interview.

Taking this approach not only helps you in the interview, but also better prepares you for the career decision.

As Jack Welch puts it:

Eventually, you’ll get a job. You will – your first, probably, of many._ _We hope it’s in your Area of Destiny, earned with a stellar interview, and cheered on by your folks. In which case, congratulations are truly in order.

Need help finding your area of destiny?

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Advice Annie is a team of Tapwage writers and guest contributors who help answer career and workplace questions