Finding the right career is highly overrated

Expertise? Totally overrated!

Hello? Experience and expertise are the decisive skills to do your job really well, aren't you? Expertise has made Germany great, the country, not only the poets and thinkers, but also the engineers, the first-year students, the master’s degree with distinction and summa cum what do I know. And another advanced course afterwards, so that you can get your dream job pumped full of knowledge. And then we show it to the overseas marketing fuzzis who can only make slogans.

It is not good marketing that sells a product, but the quality. Correct?

Steve Jobs, Marc Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Michael Dell: all dropouts, useless, at the bottom. The list can be expanded as required: Wolfgang Joop, Brad Pitt, Charles Darwin, Vincent van Gogh, Tolstoy, Grönemeyer, Stefan Raab, ... all dropouts. Have you made it anyway? The very question is embarrassing.

What does this teach us? Expertise is not everything. Of course, it's important to be able to do a job well. But even an interview is not just about “WHAT I can” but “HOW I am”. Knowledge is good, but no longer added value, but a prerequisite. And the “HOW” made the big ones big and not the advanced course.

Others can program HTML and JAVA too, which may help convince the team leader in software development, because he is ticking in the same expert mode. And of course, conversely, it's not enough to just have a positive charisma to get the job. But, unfortunately, departments in Germany still tend too often not to take these things seriously enough. Technical examinations are made there and if they turn out well, then the HR department is not asked any further and is initially hired. The job has to be filled quickly, the pressure is high and then we look further. The hired man succumbs to the fallacy that his market value is huge and that he is the sensation on the planet with his expertise.

Only in the next few months will both sides notice whether the “HOW” also fits together. Then other factors are important such as trustworthiness, dealing with others, the ability to work in a team, authenticity, receptiveness, willingness to change, independence, self-marketing talent and much more - only then have I “won” and will be able to have long-term success in the company - provided the characteristics are only examples - fit the corporate culture.

The separation rate during the probationary period is astonishingly high; studies by the PAPE Lab in the 2017 recruiting study have shown that Over a third of all hiring decisions were retrospectively rated as wrong by management. And not infrequently a separation occurs during the probationary period.

Conclusion: So check well in advance on both sides whether the WHAT and the HOW really go together.

AND: things have changed. What was important yesterday may be out of date today. Digitization creates requirement profiles as quickly as it makes qualifications useless. New business areas emerge and make old ones useless, what was a bomb yesterday is a flop today. Only those who adapt with their “soft factors” will survive, knowledge alone is not enough. On the contrary: Anyone who has been active in an area for a long time risks tunnel vision, tends to overestimate their self and is less adaptable. So you have to stay vigilant and always work harder on your “soft skills” than on your specialist knowledge. Because that's what matters in the end.

And this also includes gaining more practical experience than more specialist knowledge during your studies in order to get to know yourself better and to develop your personality patterns further.

And it is also important not to lie "in your pocket" during an interview and to deal with these HOW topics too uncritically. Otherwise there will be a rude awakening later and that is for your own career and the picture you are drawing here - not beneficial and, above all, not very successful and even less satisfactory for yourself.

BY: Christian PAPE, September 16, 2017