Career Advice from The Wolf of Wall Street

By: Ashlee

I’m an Oscar-season diehard. The moment I hear the nominations for Best Picture, I’m pulling out my calendar along with the local movie theater’s calendar to find out what’s playing when. The Academy Awards are my Superbowl, and I go all out to find out everything about all the nominated movies and their players.

As you can probably guess, I pull a lot from each of these movies and career advice is only the tip of the iceberg. One of the big Oscar nominees this year is ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill (directed by Martin Scorsese). Here’s the short synopsis: Based on the true story Wall Street stockbroker Jordan Belfort, the man was highly successful in the 1990s. From drugs, to cars, to women, to in-office antics, everything Belfort did was lavish and over-the-top, just the way he envisioned it, until his success came tumbling down.

Whether or not you’ve enrolled in a business course while at college, there are certain lessons that can be drawn from how Jordan Belfort did business, and you can apply them to your job search in no time.

1.)    Money talks whether you like it or not.

If you have money, people in your inner circle will like you for that benefit. But money doesn’t always mean the green, papery stuff.  Pay attention to those who stay with you when you’re down, and make sure to share in the good times along with them, too.

This goes for job hunting, too. If someone gave you a reference which helped snag that coveted interview with the company of your dreams, pay it forward to the next guy who made need help from you.

2.)    Don’t just talk about it. Be about it.

Nobody wants to hear about what you’re doing next year. They want to know what you’re doing right now, and how it’s going to get you there. Success isn’t measured in dollars or cents; it’s a mentality. One should start striving for it immediately in whatever is being done, big or small. Set achievable goals. Keep your hands and legs busy, so you’re actually doing it instead of only talking about it.

3.)    As long as it gets done, it doesn’t matter how.

Did you know musical legend Jimi Hendrix was a lefty? He played a right-handed guitar strung backwards and upside down. While getting the job done within the rules of the game might be preferred, getting the job done, period, is necessary.

Never be afraid to try things your own way. Originality is what separates you from the rest of the competition. It helps to change your mind set just a notch to the left: achieving your goals is only the finish line. It’s how you choose to run the race that’s open to interpretation.

4.)    Perception is everything.

Always dress the part. If you’re not qualified for the position, as least look qualified for it. It’s all about presentation. Your appearance reflects your reputation and work ethic. When meeting with a potential next boss, a sloppy suit might imply a sloppy job. (There’s a reason why James Bond is always draped in a Tom Ford or Gucci for Men suit.) We have style boards on Pinterest for both women and men.

5.)    Failure can push your motivation.

Failure can be a very powerful tool in your toolbox for success. After being dealt a fair share of defeat (and if you’re searching for a job, it’s going to happen), you’ll start to crave success. Jordan Belfort’s first business was selling meat and seafood, and he failed miserably at it. What can you and all job seekers take away from this? Don’t let failure stand in your way as a stop sign. Rather, it’s a detour. Rethink and revise your plan as needed.

6.)    Don’t hang up.

Persistence. Persistence. Persistence. For Belfort, “no” wasn’t an option. The pitch is everything, and when you’re in an interview, you’re pitching you! You have to buy into yourself first, before you can try and “sell” yourself to employers. Confidence is everything. If potential employers aren’t sold on you, they’ll never buy into your skillset.

7.)    Be a wolf.

Unfortunately, opportunities aren’t always reserved for the most worthy of candidates. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and job seekers need to be the wolf in a world of dogs. Wolf, defined as a verb (and according to Belfort) means to devour greedily.

The term ‘greedily’ doesn’t have to be taken negatively here. When Belfort said, “be greedy,” he meant to take what’s yours. When you’re sitting in the interview with your dream company, that time with the interviewer is yours. Take it!

Read Ashlee’s other posts

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