May 1, 2014

Job Search Lessons from Indiana Jones

Adventurer is stealing treasure chestDr. Jones, everyone’s favorite fictional archaeology professor, circled the globe in search of legendary artifacts. While hunting for a job may not be as exciting as hunting for treasure, it can feel just as challenging. Here are six tips from Indy’s adventures that can help you find the job of your dreams.

Have Absolute Confidence. No matter how dicey the situation became, Indiana always believed in his ability to save the day. His self-confidence, even in the face of insurmountable odds and legions of Nazis, never faltered.  According to Dr. Bill Knaus, writing for Psychology Today, “Confident composure is an attitude of mind where you recognize that you can directly command only yourself, and you choose to do so.” An aura of confidence can open doors and impress potential employers (and defeat evil rival archaeologists, apparently).

Read the Fine Print. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana and his lady love, Marion Ravenwood, follow the clues on an ancient medallion to find the location of the Ark. The fine print—which the Nazis overlook—allows them to pinpoint the location. When perusing job postings or crafting cover letters, pay attention to detail. Even the smallest mistake can hurt your chances of finding your dream job, so read carefully and don’t forget to proofread.

Balance Education and Experience. Most of the time, Dr. Jones was a tweed-wearing academic, but sometimes he donned a fedora and a bullwhip to get some experience in the field. Most professional positions require applicants to have a college degree, but dozens of other job seekers will have the exact same qualifications. Stand out by cultivating real-world experience via internships, volunteering, and freelance or part-time work while you search for your dream job.

Face Your Fears. Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes? Indiana faced a pit of vipers, a sewer full of rats, and cult leader who tried to rip out his heart. Sounds a lot like the job hunt, doesn’t it? The fears you face may be less literal than snakes, but they’re no less frightening. The fear of rejection or failure can cripple you, so acknowledge it and continue with your plan regardless.

Learn to Improvise. The famous scene in Raiders when Indiana faces a scimitar-wielding thug in a crowded Cairo market was originally supposed to be a drawn-out, epic sword fight. Because Harrison Ford was sick that day, however, he improvised by pulling a gun and shooting his attacker. Although unplanned, it became an iconic moment in film. By staying flexible and adapting to challenging situations, you may find that things work out even better than you had planned.

Don’t Go It Alone. Although Indy was the hero, he was never short on sidekicks. Without the help of Marion, Salah, Marcus Brody, Henry Jones, and even the irritating Short-Round, he would not have succeeded. Teaming up with sidekicks, experts, and mentors can make all the difference. Networking is one of the most important skills for any jobseeker, and it starts with building relationships.

Indiana Jones might not be the most responsible archaeologist or professor—he destroyed a lot of ancient temples and skipped out on his office hours—but we can still learn a lot from him. Be bold, be daring, and think of the job hunt as a treasure hunt.

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A self-proclaimed word nerd, Allison VanNest works with Grammarly to help perfect written English. Connect with Allie, the Grammarly team, and nearly FIVE MILLION Grammarly Facebook fans at
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