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25.03.2018 Careers Advice

How to get hired: career advice from 5 highly successful people

What advice do highly successful people in the digital and marketing sector have for securing a job?

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, revealed the one question he asks before hiring a new employee recently. Answering questions at the Mobile World Congress Zuckerberg told the audience: ‘I will only hire someone to work directly with me if I would work for that person’.

Essentially Zuckerberg looks for people who would make a good boss. That’s all well and good, but it isn’t exactly practical advice you can use to advance your career. But don’t worry! 3Search have scoured the web to find useful career advice from five highly successful leaders in the tech, digital and marketing sectors.

#1 – ‘Take career risks’

Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook

Sandberg is often considered to be the real brains behind Facebook’s staggering success – Zuckerberg himself goes so far as to call her his ‘mentor’.

In her bestselling book, Lean In, Sandberg argues the benefits of being more open to taking career risks. Women especially, she argues, can worry too much about whether they have the skills needed to take on stretch assignments or challenging roles.

‘At a certain point, it’s your ability to learn quickly and contribute quickly that matters’ Sandberg writes. ‘Women need to shift from thinking “I’m not ready to do that” to thinking “I want to do that – and I’ll learn by doing it”’.


#2 – ‘Know the company’

Jonah Peretti, CEO, Buzzfeed

Buzzfeed has been expanding so fast that the firm is said to have been hiring a new employee every day for months. It isn’t surprising, therefore, that they know a bit about employing great staff.

Jonah Peretti says it’s vital to know the company: ‘I don’t need people to come in having memorised every article, list, and quiz we’ve done’ he says. ‘However, I do think it’s important to know about Buzzfeed’s story and a little bit about our growth.’

Rather than just memorising the annual report, though, he advises showing off personal experiences: ‘Talk about if you’ve posted in the community, what quiz really spoke to you and made you want to share it, or tell me about a story that really surprised you’ he advises.


#3 ‘Have the will to win’

Meg Whitman, Chief Executive of Hewlett Packard

Meg Whitman famously left a promising career at Proctor and Gamble in the late ‘90s to lead a little known start up: EBay. By 2008, under Whitman’s leadership, EBay has grown to become a global retailer, turning over more than $8 billion. She now leads IT giant Hewlett Packard.

Whitman sees a desire to win, regardless of the odds, as crucial. ‘Things are never going to be perfect’, she writes on LinkedIn. ‘There’s always going to be some disadvantage that has to be overcome. But winners don’t wait around for perfect conditions. Winners improvise. They fight on and they refuse to lose’.

How do you show you know how to win? It means ‘knowing the competition and understanding the market, she writes, ‘ask yourself; do you know who you have to beat in order to win? Do you know the moves your competitors are about to make? And when you lose, do you know why you lost?’


#4 ‘Admit when you’re wrong’

Tim Cook, Chief Executive of Apple

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO since 2011, shared some of his thoughts on the qualities he looks for in his employees in an interview with BusinessWeek in 2014. One thing that is pretty clear is the importance Cook places on ‘understanding when you’re wrong, admitting it and explaining how you moved forward’.

Talking about his experience at Apple, Cook says: ‘so many people, particularly, I think, CEOs and top executives, they get so planted in their old ideas, and they refuse or don’t have the courage to admit that they’re now wrong. Maybe the most underappreciated thing about Steve [Jobs] was that he had the courage to change his mind. And you know—it’s a talent.’


#5 ‘Be eternally inquisitive’

Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive of WPP

Martin Sorrell founded WPP in 1985 and over the next thirty years grew the firm into the world’s largest advertising company.

Sorrell has shared his thoughts on the qualities that ‘get you hired’ with LinkedIn, writing that he looks for individuals who have an ‘international outlook’. This means more than just speaking foreign languages, he says, it is about having a particular ‘outlook’.

Explaining how he spots this quality in potential staff, he notes: ‘top candidates are eternally inquisitive, outward-looking and international in perspective. In a world where ideas cross the glove in seconds, you can’t afford to be parochial’.


Have you seen any great advice from business leaders recently? Share it with 3Search in the comments. And don’t forget to check out the latest great digital, marketing and communications opportunities on the 3Search website.

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