Now, the usual meaning behind this quote is that you have to work hard in order to achieve success. We're taking a bit of a different spin on it. Because here's the thing about the job search and the ascension up the career ladder: there's no elevator, but you don't necessarily have to crawl and climb your way up. There are ways to use what you already have, and systems that are already in place, in order to get to the end. There are stairs.
Work your connections.
No matter what the connection is, personal attachment to a job candidate or full time employee will keep you at the top of the list to whoever is in power. If your CEO likes golf, chat him up about the latest tournament. If an acquaintance is talking about hiring a new creative director, stick your nose in. Hear about what the hiring side is looking for and then ask if you could be referred. It's not a gimme, but it's a great way to get your foot on the first step.
Talk to your references.
A lot of people looking for a job think that just having someone be a reference will get the job done. Tell your team of references exactly what you think they could mention if they get a phone call. "Annie, we worked closely and collaboratively at _____ (company) and I'd love for you to speak to my abilities as an energetic and valuable team player if a potential employer gives you a call." Don't assume you've done enough just by gathering references - coach them a little bit.
Reuse and revamp your cover letter.
Do not use the exact same wording, but stick with the basic format and structure of your first cover letter and change it to apply to whatever position you're interested in. It doesn't help to apply for a marketing job and only mention your design skills, or vice versa. No two cover letters are the same, but you don't need to start at square one every time.
Take advantage of your annual review
It's not the time to sit there and rehash everything good you've done in the past year. Ask questions about how you can do more, seek out opportunities for you to grow and stress that you're interested in moving "up," if that's what success means to you. Engaged employees are the most valuable kind, and even if you excel where you're currently positioned, your employer can't assume you have the drive or the want to climb the ladder. The annual review the perfect opportunity to show your interest.
These are just a few suggestions, but this is the time to take advantage of systems that are already in place so you aren't forced to create your own path up Career Mountain. There are paved ways up, you just have to find them.
It's the beginning of a new year - the air is full of promises we make (and sometimes even keep!). If getting a job is on your to-do list this year, there's a momentum you've got to keep up.
Make a list of the steps you need to take in order to even apply for a new job: update your resume, update your portfolio, make a portfolio if you haven't already, prep your basic cover letters, research to see what jobs are available, etc. etc.
You know how sometimes when you have a very important deadline, you find yourself cleaning your living room? Or planning the next meal you're going to cook? We very often stop once we get started with things, because opening up the process alone feels like an accomplishment. Once it has begun, we allow ourselves to drift into other busywork, because hey, we did something, right? Newsflash: making the list above is not enough.
Even if you're on the right path, you'll get run over if you just sit there.
So what to do? Keep moving.
Go through, step by step, and move through the process of applying for jobs. Submit resumes and portfolios, go to interviews, meet people, ask questions, and get the job you've always wanted.
It's not enough to stay motivated, you have to keep moving.