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The number one mistake most job seekers make


DATE: 27 April, 2016

In order for us to get the job we want, we need to define what that job actually looks like in detail. It’s time to clear the fog so we can see where we’re going.

This is the most important step and the one that’s most commonly overlooked. Why? Because it requires us to look inwardly and analyse ourselves. This is often not an easy task because our limiting beliefs can quickly sabotage our deepest desires.

When someone says they want to be rich, I ask how rich? Is a million dollars a year enough or will a quarter million be sufficient? What will that dollar amount give you? How does it meet your needs? How does it serve your values? Richness also comes in many different ways such as experiences and love. You get the idea.

It’s crucial to paint the picture clearly with measured targets. Questions are powerful vehicles for us to achieve this. It allows us to learn quickly and dig deep. I’ve found that if we ask quality questions, we’re always going to get quality answers.

There are 3 main questions that will guide you through this important step to avoid making the biggest mistake most job seekers make. The more specific and detailed you are with your answers, the clearer your picture will be.


Write down and specify your story and what you’re made of.

How did you grow up and what unique experiences can you leverage? What are you doing now and why are you doing it? Define your purpose in your job role and as a person in this universe. We need to establish your baseline as a brand and a service. Set parameters by noting your personal values and characteristics that are important to you.


Write down and define your goals.

What are you working towards? What is your vision (short and long-term)? I suggest you choose two primary goals and two secondary goals to focus on. Having too many goals can distract you and you’ll end up achieving none of them.

Simply ‘getting a job’ is not specific enough. You have to define what job. Simply ‘being happy’ is definitely not measurable. What experiences would tick that box for you? Perhaps it’s travelling to a certain country. Perhaps it’s being mentored by a certain person or winning a particular industry-related award. And of course, you must specify the job you want.

What does that ideal job look like? Where is it? What’s the environment of the place? What is the culture of that organisation? What are the people like? These thoughts will not only set in stone what you want, but indirectly also what you don’t want.


When you surpass any confronting questions, answer them thoroughly and define what your ideal job looks like, you can now figure out the necessary steps on how to achieve it.

We now need to recognise the obstacles and challenges that need to be conquered in order to reach your end goal.

List down all the things you think are holding you back.

Every single one of them. We then pair them up with actionable solutions. Are they financial obstacles? You can either work a few extra casual shifts, do some odd jobs for others or find free ways to achieve it. For example if you can’t go to design college, there are plenty of free online resources to start learning. Free information can be a solution to many obstacles. Do you want to be more confident in your interviews? Besides tips online, you may want to role play with someone with experience or a mentor to practice interview situations.

One common obstacle is not knowing the right people. Define the key people that will open the right doors for you based on your goal and then define the key people that will help you when you get there. There’s always a way to getting the job you want and any goal for that matter. It simply comes down to unwavering, consistent action, and how badly you want it.

What are some questions that help you find clarity and direction? 


Ram is an award winning Design Director, Blogger, top ranking Podcaster, Speaker, Instructor and Author of the internationally acclaimed book ‘How to get a job as a designer, guaranteed'. He's based in Sydney, Australia and in 2012, started the blog which helps thousands of design students and graduates be employed. Ram has since been featured in Communication Arts, HOW magazine, Herman Miller, deFrost*, and Apple. For more on being a designer, read Ram's internationally industry acclaimed book here: After over 12 years experience working for globally renowned agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather, DDB and McCann Worldgroup on clients such as Audi, Qantas, Telstra, CBA, Crown, Google and The Louis Vuitton Group, he's able to give back to the industry which has given him avalanches in return.