Every new college graduate and early careerist longs for opportunity. They long for the job that leads to career advancement in their chosen field. When people ask me why some job seekers are more prone to have such opportunity knock on their door, I reply with this: they work smarter and harder than most of their peers do.

If you find this opportunity not making its way to your door, here are some things people who attract opportunity have in common -- and that you can replicate to hear the knock.

1. They research companies, careers, and desirable skill sets that have a history of creating internal or external growth opportunities rather pursuing jobs offering only the largest initial paycheck.

2. They find a well-informed career coach, mentor, or trusted advisor to help plot out their career early on and set up a series of benchmarks to know when things are going well and when things need to change.

3. They are aggressive and proactive, never waiting for unknown factors to dictate their actions.

4. They understand that nothing worthwhile in life is free. Therefore, they enter a job search with the budget to acquire tools, training, and a wardrobe that will impress recruiters and employers.

5. They do their homework to determine what constitutes a realistic opportunity, what is more of a dream, and then they deploy their resources accordingly. They aim big, but have a backup plan.

6. They stay focused on applying for specific jobs rather than blasting their resume to a wide net of positions that turn out to be a waste of time and effort.

7. When writing a cover letter or tailoring a resume, they first determine the ‘hire profile’ and how well they can fill it. Only then do they begin the writing, networking, and interview preparation.


8. They understand that opportunity knocks more often for people who are in the right place at the right time. This is why they allot half of their job search efforts to networking. The more people know you, what you have to offer, what you are looking for, and how they can help, the greater the chance that they can send an opportunity to your door.

9. They do not make excuses or get despondent after rejection or setbacks. They look to learn from these experiences by figuring out what may have gone wrong and how to correct things for the future.

10. The final point they have in common: they surround themselves with expert advisors they trust and can call upon. They seek honest answers and sound advice on every aspect of a successful job search and career. This requires a serious investment of time and effort, but the ROI is undeniable.

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