Eight lessons from the Apprentice to boost your career
Love it or hate it, the Apprentice is back with vengeance, as new candidates come together to compete and become Lord Sugar’s business partner and win a £250,000 investment into a potential business venture.
Whilst this may seem as far from the reality in job searching as you can get, between the tantrums and the personality clashes, there are some great dos and don’t’s to pick up for your own career or business venture. Here’s our eight favourites:
- Don’t be over confident
Whilst you need a level of self-confidence for sure, being over-confident can and often does prove detrimental. Instead of believing you are the best in finance, negotiation, sales etc.. let your experience do the talking and allow you to have an air of confidence in the interview room, without being overbearing, or plain annoying!
- Be a team player
There is only one winner on the Apprentice, but it is clear from the process that Lord Sugar is looking for a team player – and someone who not only takes the role but also understands and plays it to their best ability, whether it’s project manager or delivering specific sub-tasks.On The Apprentice we see time and time again individual candidates who ignore their designated role and instead aim for a leadership position. This often causes tension and friction within the team and can have a negative impact on task delivery. A good team player can lead when required but ultimately puts the team’s objectives above their own.
3. Do your bit
As well as being a team player, show that you want to be involved and pull your weight. There’s always candidates that are stronger than others, and some we forget even exist! The latter don’t normally last long and are fired for non-contribution, as they would be in any business. It’s really important if you’re going for a job or career choice that you’re willing to stick your neck out, roll up your sleeves and get involved, prepared to make an impact right from day one.
4. Stand out for the right reasons
Just an air of caution – whilst we all want to stand out from the crowd for the right reasons, choose your outfit carefully, so as not to distract from what you have to say – cue pink tartan, Ruth Whitely, enough said.
On a serious note, if you’re in interview or pitch mode, make sure you’ve practiced or you will stumble. And look like you believe every word you are saying (without being over-confident.) Be remembered for the right reasons.
5. Be liked
Have you ever noticed in your own business that those that get promoted are generally well liked? It’s also true in the Apprentice – especially if you rub Lord Sugar up the wrong way you’ll soon be shown the ‘You’re Fired’ sign! It’s crucial to try and build a rapport with your perspective and new employers and team.
This may even start by sending a thank you email if they’ve invited you to interview, and use small talk techniques at the start to break the ice. Being friendly, helpful and interested in other people (and not just those in management) but colleagues performing different roles across the organisation, will score you more points that you think!
6. Remember to use your voice
The ultimate Apprentice boardroom excuse – you would have done it differently…. So why didn’t you say something in the task? It’s really important to contribute your opinion while there’s still a chance to influence the outcome. However, if you can’t convince the other team members that your idea is a good one then take it on the nose. Sometimes you have to admit defeat and just continue to be a great team player regardless.
7. Stay focussed
You’re there for an interview and the goal, if you’re passionate about it, is to secure your next career move. And this really has to shine from you and hit the interviewers in the face. Time and again we say that you can have all the skills in the world, but if you don’t have passion for the job, then you’re unlikely to succeed.
You can see this clearly in the more successful Apprentice candidates who always have the team objective at the forefront of their minds. Those who take their eye off the ball, get distracted or promote themselves are often the ones who get fired. Staying focused, making decisions and getting on with the job also go hand in hand with making the most sales!
8. Tell the Truth
We’ve all seen it, and some of us have undoubtedly been there – but we don’t need to tell you that you will be caught out if you lie on your CV, even when you think it may be a minor detail. Honesty is always the best policy, and if you do have weaknesses then prove you’re working hard to improve and learn.
Do you watch the Apprentice? Feel free to add your thoughts and suggestions on what you’ve learnt from the show, we’d love to hear!