If you ‘re looking for a new job or trying to upgrade the one you have, the strategies of poker can help you get what you are looking for.
There are many valuable career boosting lessons based on principles learned at the poker table even if you have never played a game. Poker rewards initiative, assertiveness, fearlessness, and calculated risk taking all of which are needed for a successful job hunt.
Everyone’s talking about quite quitting. Let’s talk about being bold and betting on ourselves.
Project bravado and confidence and don’t be modest when it comes to selling your capabilities. It’s ok to use the “I” word. Everyone wants a team player but you also need to be clear on where you shine and show leadership. Be bold and take risk. Play to win as opposed to avoid losing.
Stack the deck in your favor by researching the company and people you want to work for. Poker Players are always sizing up the players at the table to give them an edge. Research the company’s objectives, products, and financial situation before you walk in the door or get on zoom. It’s also important to find out as much as you can about the person interviewing you. Like it or not you can learn a lot about a potential boss via Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social channels. See if you have any mutual connection that will talk with you or even better talk to former employees. Be smart and be prepared.
Research shows that over 80% of how people perceive you is based on non-verbal cues (tells). Poker players are always looking for tells to help get a read on another player. Pay attention to the cues you project as well as those of the person interviewing you. Do you make eye contact and sit up straight to project confidence or are your eyes down and hands fumbling projecting fear or lack of interest. Are you talking too fast or too softly? Also pay attention to the person interviewing you. If they look distracted or bored, look for ways to re-engage their interest. Women have good intuition in this area. Use it.
There is a big difference between a little embellishment and a total lie. If you have done something and are proficient at it and know you can learn the rest, it’s ok to say you are good at it. But if you have never had any exposure to finance don’t pretend you are an accountant. Remember if you are called on a bluff which is an out and out lie you have a lot to lose. In a poker game you are expected to be deceptive but in a business situation your reputation is on the line.
You need to be enthusiastic and animated during an interview to convey interest. Once you have an offer and are negotiating salary or benefits then use your poker face to try to up the ante and get a better deal. The first offer is rarely the best offer. Don’t hesitate to negotiate and ask for more.
Remember not every hand is a winner. You’re not going to get every interview or job offer even if you are the most qualified. In fact, sometimes in life as in poker you do everything right and still lose. Make sure you don’t let a “bad beat” ruin the rest of your job interviews to come. Going on tilt or being overly emotional about your loss hurts your ability to go on to the next opportunity. There’s always another hand or interview. Feel lousy for a day, compose yourself and go on to the next. Don’t let your emotions undermine your intelligence.
There is a great poker story highlighted in Ellen Leikind’s book PokerWoman about a man name Jack Strauss. Jack was playing in the 1982 World series of poker and thought he had gone “all in” and put all his chips in the pot during a hand. He lost the hand and thought he was out of the tournament but when he got up to leave it turned out he had 1 chip left. Jack went on to win that tournament. Out of that experience came the expression “all you need is a chip and a chair’ Keep motivated, keep playing and stay in the game. You will land something good soon. Bet on yourself to become a winner.
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