29 Nov Proven strategies for landing high-paying jobs without connections
In a September 29 Business Insider article, “Why You Need a Sponsor—Not a Mentor—to Fast-Track Your Career,” author Jenna Goudreau highlighted that “Four recent studies clearly show that sponsorship—not mentorship—is how power is transferred in the workplace.”
The reason is clear. The marketplace is incredibly competitive and well-paying opportunities seem far between nowadays. For many talented job seekers, the question is, how do you land lucrative job opportunities today?
Is there a possibility of getting people with big bucks to notice you when you don’t have a sponsor?
What is the secret to distinguishing yourself and getting your foot in the door of opportunities?
In this post, I want to share with you case studies of two young designers that landed high-profile clients without any middle person. We shall learn their strategies, and perhaps, you too can apply them in your next job hunt.
Case Study 1: Osuolale Farouq designs a logo that got noticed by Innoson Motors Founder.
“In my personal opinion, and what I do as well, the best way to distinguish yourself in this very competitive marketplace is to find a problem that exists and solve it. And, really, that should be linked with your passion or interest. If it’s something you’re naturally interested in doing, it’ll be easy for you to follow that path. So, find a problem, tie it up to your interest and go ahead and solve it.” — Ayesha Bedwei, Tax Partner at PwC
On October 15, 2019, Osuolale Farouq, a young Nigerian designer, recreated the logo of the Nigerian automaker, Innoson. He presented his work on Twitter and asked everyone to retweet until it gets the attention of the company. The tweet grossed 28.6K Retweets and 40.8K Likes. Eventually, the company picked it up and asked their followers to vote between the new logo and the old one.
Of course, 32,000 people chose Farouq’s design. Long story short, he got an invitation to meet the founder, Mr. Innoson.
What lessons can we learn from this story?
Lesson one: He saw a problem and provided a commensurate solution.
Innoson Motors is positioning itself as the first made-in-Africa automobile brand. However, their logo does not appeal to the internet generation that admires outlier brands like Tesla. Although some buyers would be swayed by the psychological import of patronizing a made-in-Africa brand, folks with a strong taste for sleek designs wouldn’t mind spending top dollar on a cool cybertruck and the likes. After all, most people buy products because of the brand.
And Farouq knows this. He took the initiative to create a modern logo that can appeal to the fashion-conscious, new generation buyer.
Lesson two: Find leverage to get your foot in the door.
The truth is, a behemoth like the Innoson brand might not pay much attention to a proposal from an unknown designer. Thankfully, Social Media and Twitter, in particular, has proven to help the little guys get the attention they desperately need in times like this.
He crowdsourced his marketing proposal. And with the help of over 40,000 people, he got the attention he deserved. But not just that, his brand also got an equal boost.
Lesson three: Be so good they can’t ignore you.
American actor, comedian, writer, filmmaker, and musician Steve Martin popularized the quote, be so good they can’t ignore you. In the end, skills will always trump marketing. That means, no matter how much publicity you create around your work, if your performance is trash, people won’t care so much.
In our case study above, the logo was precise and beautifully done. The eagle design was well-defined, and consistent with the company’s vision as well.
Case Study 2: Cynthia Bob creates corporate designs with the new Innoson logo.
One week after Farouq’s logo went viral and got chosen by Innoson motors, Cynthia went to work to create full brand tools for the company. Using Farouq’s logo, she made mockups of brand assets like letterheads, safety helmets, staff IDs, catalog, call cards, and so on.
And, with the help of over 10,000 people, she got the company’s attention as well!
Dear @innosonvehicles, working with the new logo, I have come up with a few corporate designs. I used dummy design details pending the correct ones. Yes, @osuolale_farouq permitted me to work with his logo design.
Kindly retweet 🙏🙏🙏
See thread for more. pic.twitter.com/ByVhy51gx9
— IMPRINT: by cynthia (@chaniee_bob) October 21, 2019
Let’s review the lessons here.
“It is much easier to put existing resources to better use than to develop resources where they do not exist.” — George Soros, Investor and Philanthropist
Lesson one: She created leverage by building on success.
Archimedes once said, give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world. Cynthia didn’t re-invent the wheel by creating a new logo. She took the one that already achieved success and built upon it. She found a gap in the creative process that Farouq started and leveraged that tempo to drive the innovation to the finish line.
Experts will tell you, the difference between success and failure in the marketplace is mostly based on your ability to spot the gaps. The wind of opportunity moves in different directions at different times. Your job as a smart job seeker is to seek out where the gaps are and how your skills can be put to use in filling those gaps.
Lesson two: Timing is important
A girl now have a name 👇👇
Creative Designer and Brand Expert. https://t.co/4SBjzxzCzb
— Innoson Vehicles (@innosonvehicles) October 22, 2019
Think of the job market as a man with unpredictable mood fluctuations. If you meet him at a time when he’s in a good mood, you get everything you want. But if you meet him at a time when he’s grouchy, you’ll have to exercise numerous efforts in filling your needs. Hence, your job is to pay attention to Mr. Job Market and find the right time to make your deal.
In Cynthia’s case, the timing was right. She caught on the momentum generated by Farouq’s logo. Twitter users rewarded her with the attention of the company also.
In business, as well as in a career, timing plays a tremendous role between success or failure.
You might be reading this, and you’re thinking: Tom-Chris, these people are creatives, but I’m not. How do these case studies apply to me?
The simple answer is that the rules of success are the same – irrespective of the context.
In the end, it all boils down to paying attention and doing the work to get the recognition you need. I do recruitment, and one thing I can guarantee you is: EVERY company wants an employee that adds value to the company. They want people that will take their brand to where others haven’t been. As you seek your next client or employer, pay attention to the lessons above. Put them to use, and you will be dazzled by how quickly you will get the results you want.
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the Founder & President of SFAN (Stars From All Nations). When he’s not building SFAN and helping entrepreneurs and rising professionals create fulfilling careers, he’s telling African innovation stories or advocating for people-centered policy. Tom-Chris is a former consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana, and the author of the forthcoming book: Breaking the Limits. He is a thought leader on youth development, social entrepreneurship, technological innovation, and the future of work.