Using Force Multipliers to Propel Your Career

Multiple images of the same girl
After writing Beefing Up the Résumé Vs. Hitting the Job Hunt Trail last week, I received an email from fellow résumé writer Robert Dagnall. In it, he talked of an idea called “force multipliers.” This is, in his words, “a military concept that describes actions or qualities that multiply the effectiveness of a unit beyond its size.”

When you think about it, the activities mentioned in my previous post are job hunt force multipliers. They serve more than one purpose — adding content to a résumé and developing networking contacts that could prove important in a job search. With time being at a premium, anything you can do to address two needs with one activity is a very good thing. Robert then took the networking thought a bit further and said:

“Tactics can be ‘force multipliers’, or not, depending on how you go about them. Networking for your own interests benefits one person. Networking with the interests of yourself and one other benefits two people. Habitually making connections because it benefits you and many…”

This is a very important point he makes. Does what you do focus solely on yourself, or are you incorporating others into the potential benefit? By choosing how you carry out something like taking a class, it can become an even greater force multiplier than what you may have been considering at first glance.

And then Robert asked, “How can we encourage people to see the extra opportunities available?”

That, right there, is the big question.

How often do we make choices that satisfy our short-term needs, but don’t contribute anything in the long term? Quite often, I’d warrant. We grab onto what can get us the most benefit right now because it’s easy to see, but have a much more difficult time envisioning the payback if it’s far in the future.

The waters become even murkier if other people enter into the picture. “What if someone else swoops in and benefits from all my hard work? What would I be left with?” you worry. The problem is that this mindset comes from being on the defensive, of seeing the landscape as a competition where you have to kick and claw and pull down others to get ahead. But why does your success have to come at the expense of someone else’s loss?

Take a look at the actions you are taking. Do they meet more than one objective? Do they have short- and long-term paybacks? Can they benefit more than just you?

Image courtesy of Giles Cook

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