10,000 hours dedicated to your job search may be too much, but the time you put in will make a difference

If you think Bill Gates and the Beatles were successful because of their innate talent alone, Malcolm Gladwell offers another reason for their success, which he outlines in his book Outliers. Outliers are people who separate themselves from the “ordinary” because of their success, which is due in part because of the 10,000-hour rule. This rule asserts that the time one spends on a certain activity can often predict his/her success.

Gates, for instance, was given the opportunity to practice on personal computers at a private secondary school he attended when personal computers arrived on the scene. This was before he attended, and dropped out of, Harvard and later developed Microsoft.

The Beatles were given the opportunity to play eight hours a day in Hamburg, Germany, when they started out. Gates and the Beatles were driven and talented individuals, of course, but having logged over 10,000 hours to perfect their art made a huge difference, according to Gladwell.

What Gladwell’s 10,000-hour theory has to do with the job search is similar to the amount of time you must put into your search. In other words, your success is proportional to the hours you dedicate to it. However, you can’t dive into your job search without having a plan of attack. Your plan has to demonstrate vision with results. Here are the five most important elements of your job search:

  1. Determining your work values and assessing your skills.
  2. Revising your résumé to fit today’s résumé.
  3. Networking with a purpose.
  4. Polishing your interview techniques, both traditional and behavioral.
  5. Maintaining that positive attitude.

I hope your job search doesn’t require 10,000 hours, or 1.2 years. Forty hours a week for six months (or 960 hours) is probably more than some of you would like to spend on your search. One of the points Gladwell makes in this “must-read” book is that success doesn’t come from only raw talent; it comes from practice and hard work. Read the Outliers. There are many other stories about how people became successful, including timing and their ethnicity.

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