Luck, Preparedness & Opportunity


I had one of those moments the other day where I had to put down what I was reading in order to take a note on what I'd just read. (I later turned it into the above comic.)

Luck is where preparedness and opportunity meet.

I've been talking to a lot of job seekers lately - people who have applied to 70 places, 100, 150, one person with over 200 applications. As you can imagine, they've been feeling frustrated, defeated, overwhelmed, confused, and have been doubting themselves.

In just about all of these cases, I've taken the same approach: starting at the beginning, with their resume, cover letter, portfolio - the ways in which they are presenting themselves.

Don't get me wrong: It's not that a better resume is going to land anyone a job - but I think a well-structured resume is an important starting point. But the reason why may be less obvious.

A good resume requires a fair amount of introspection. Highlighting the right things, letting go of what is irrelevant. The product and outcome of this introspection isn't just a better resume - it's a candidate who is more specific and intentional in their pursuit. It is a candidate who better communicates what they are looking for, what they can do, and how they will grow.

That's the very first step towards being prepared. Of course, there's many other steps: working on your communication, working on your technical skills, reviewing previous experiences and projects so you can easily talk about them without stammering or conveying any self-doubt.

Being prepared is so important - but that alone doesn't get you the job either. You need the right opportunity. Not any opportunity - but one that aligns with your goals, that can invest in you, and provide you the room to grow and learn.

That's easier said than done. For any number of reasons, a company may not be well equipped to support you for where you are today. Pursuing those roles would waste their time, but more importantly waste yours.

If not getting responses is demotivating, imagine the difficulty of failing at a role because you never had the support you needed. It is not easy to bounce back from that.

The right opportunity is not easy to come by. It's just the nature of the problem. But it is out there - it's just going to take some luck in finding it.

Luck, by definition, is something you cannot control. That's an important consideration, because it resets expectations so you can focus your energy on what you can control: how prepared you are.


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