January 14, 2014

3 Things “The Wolf of Wall Street” Can Teach You About Job Hunting

Arctic WolfI watched “The Wolf of Wall Street” this past weekend, and let me tell you, it was three hours of insanity. To give a brief background for those who haven’t seen it, the movie is about Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), an over-the-top, “druggie” stockbroker who makes a fortune dealing in stock market manipulation.

The movie details his rise to wealth and power and all the (self-inflicted) obstacles he faces thereafter. Belfort is an erratic, fast-talking, money-hungry character, but he’s also one heck of a businessman. His actions led me to think about how many job seekers could learn a thing or two from him (both what to do and what not to do). This is especially true after reading a recent survey from Manpower Group.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey for Q1 2014 explained how there are three key drivers of success when it comes to the job search: location, timing and skills. And interestingly enough, these three areas are exactly what Belfort utilizes in the movie to help him establish a billion-dollar company.

So, exactly how does he do this? And what can his actions teach you about a successful strategy for the job search? I’m glad you asked.

1. Location

Manpower said it’s about being in the right place, and Belfort understood the value of this concept. He had a passion for the stock market industry, so what better place to work than on Wall Street? And when that fell through, Belfort moved on to an even more profitable (not necessary ethical) location: Long Island. Most folks wouldn’t think of Long Island as the place to be for jobs, but in Belfort’s case, it was. He began working at a company selling penny stocks, the only place at that time still hiring stock brokers. This location proved profitable for him as he soon learned he would earn a 50 percent commission, much larger than his commission rates on Wall Street. Plus, no one at the company had the same selling skills as Belfort, which 1) helped easily escalate him to the top seller and 2)  provided the opportunity for him to start his own business. Who doesn’t want to be in a location where your product/service is in demand and your company is one of the very few that offers it?

So, when job hunting, it’s important to think about location. What cities/states have the most openings in your industry? And in what locations is your industry booming? Location is important to consider as you apply for jobs because it will be easier to offer your skills in an area where they’re in demand, versus one where they are not.

2. Timing

Along with being in the right place, one must also have the right time. Again, Belfort was in the penny stock business where there wasn’t much competition. And as his company grew, so did new initiatives in the stock market, like introducing IPOs. Belfort needed to make his business more “respectable” and it just so happened that at that very same time, women’s shoe designer Steve Madden was becoming a hot commodity. Being able to exclusively sell Madden’s stock came right on time to push Belfort’s firm to the next level.

Consider timing not only when you apply for jobs, but when you follow up. If you’re cold calling hiring managers, do so in the early morning as opposed to the lunch hour. Or if hiring is slow at a company, spend more time applying to others that are actively accepting applications.

3. Skills

To land a job and become successful, you will definitely have to have the right skills. Although Belfort was a drug addict, curse-word slurring, debauchery loving character, he was an incredible salesman. He understood the art of sales and manipulation, easily drawing in hesitant buyers. He was deemed the “Wolf of Wall Street” but even this only attested to his skills as more and more people sought to work for him. And on top of sales, Belfort was a great motivator who constantly encouraged his employees, pushing them to never take no for an answer.

Play up your skills on your resume and cover letter to let hiring managers know you are qualified. And learning a new skill or receiving a certification only helps add to your credibility.

Read more in Job Search Advice

Marks’ stories have also been published in a variety of newspaper, magazine and online formats including The Arizona Republic, The Daily Herald, Arizona Foothills Magazine and various classroom magazines of Scholastic Inc. Service is her passion, writing is her platform and uplifting and inspiring the community is her purpose. Marks received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University.
Google+ Profile