5 for Friday: Out of the Box Edition

Ancient Chinese military general Sun Tzu died years ago so you probably weren’t thinking of asking him for job search advice anytime soon. Warren Buffet, though still alive, seems so wealthy and busy as to be similarly out of reach. That didn’t stop us from stumbling across some excellent articles this week with “out of the box” people like the aforementioned, and “out of the box” ideas to improve your job search. Enjoy!

  • Glasses to look smart during interview? Dumb idea. TribLive: “[I]was downright annoyed when someone interviewing me recently for an article asked if job hunters should get glasses so they look smarter. I thought the writer of this well-known publication, which will go unnamed, was kidding. I asked her: “Are you serious?” She really meant it.”
  • Need help landing your next gig? Heed Sun Tzu. Boston.com: “You wouldn’t think the musings of ancient Chinese military general Sun Tzu as found in his book, The Art of War, could be used as an aid in your hunt for a [job, but] read between the lines, reflect on what Sun Tzu was saying then, to what you are trying to accomplish in the midst of a job search, and you can see that the general could have moonlighted as a pretty fair recruiter in his spare time.”
  • Want a Job? Stop Being Boring. Forbes: “Our job-search culture in general is a deafening snore. We dread it. The same cover letters are churned out: ‘I think I’d be a valuable asset to your company’; ‘I am goal oriented’; or ‘I have a strong work ethic.’ And the same rejection letters received, to the point where the stinging slap from the words, ‘we regret to inform you,’ ‘the competition was high’ or ‘we wish you luck in your job search’ becomes weaker and weaker.”
  • Warren Buffett’s Career Tips to Young Women. Bloomberg Businessweek: “The Berkshire Hathaway chairman and chief executive officer also spoke fondly of his friend and former Washington Post chief, the late Katharine Graham, and recommended her Pulitzer Prize-winning biography as a must-read for young women. Graham’s continued lack of confidence in the face of her notable achievements still perplexes Buffett. It’s one reason he supports the “lean in” philosophy of Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, herself an investor in Levo League, and why he’s now trying to help young women get opportunities that his generation never had.”
  • Performance Review? Job Interview? Advice from the Defense Dept. CNBC: “Empathize with the enemy,” said Robert McNamara, former U.S. Secretary of Defense…What is empathy, anyway? It’s not sympathy. In war, after you empathize with the enemy, you might kill him. Empathy means, like a good chess player, you study the board from all angles. How do you do that? “Be the other person,” said psychologist Fritz Perls. Pretend, for a minute or two, you’re him or her.”

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