August 16th, 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley, one of the most celebrated and influential musicians of the 20th century. He was also incredibly controversial and endured a lot of rejection and criticism during his career, making his success all the more remarkable.
Here are 5 critical career lessons that we can all learn from The King.
Not everyone will appreciate your work
In 8th grade, Elvis’s music teacher told him that he didn’t have a talent for singing. He was determined to prove her wrong and performed a popular song for her, but it did little to change her opinion. She didn’t like his style of singing and he even received an average grade of a “C” in music class. Sometimes, people won’t appreciate your style of work, and that doesn’t always mean it’s bad. Don’t get hung up on getting everyone’s approval, instead, take your talents elsewhere where you can capitalize on them.
You need to dress the part
Elvis began to stand out amongst his classmates in high school with respect to his appearance. He hung out on Beale Street and admired the flashy clothes worn by the blues musicians who frequented the area. Before long, he acquired this style of wardrobe himself and wore it in his final years of schooling. Despite how it made him a target, adopting the attitude and style of the professionals helped him develop his signature image. When you are trying to launch your career in an industry, you need to dress the part. Update your wardrobe to match. Act like the professional you want to be, you can’t talk the talk if you aren’t willing to walk the walk. Carry yourself as if you’ve already made it, and soon you’ll be where you want to be.
Play up your differences
When Elvis was trying to get Sun Records to play his music in order to be discovered by the music community, the receptionist asked him what his sound was. He repeatedly answered her “I don’t sound like nobody.” When searching for a job, you must remember that you’re competing with other people who have a lot in common with you in terms of experience and education. Think about how you’re different – what sets you apart and would make you a better option than other candidates? How will your differences make you a success in this role? Thinking about your unique strengths and cashing in on them is a surefire way to achieve success.
Don’t fear rejection
Every famous and successful person has faced some form of rejection in their life. Elvis himself was rejected many times, notably once when he was working as a truck driver and auditioned for a vocalist position in Eddie Bond’s band, who told him that he would never make it as a singer. Later on, he was proven very wrong by Presley, who toured with him signed to Mercury Records. Rejection is never fun. Receiving an email informing you that a hiring manager isn’t going to proceed with your application can sting, especially when it’s a position you really wanted. Don’t be afraid of it, keep applying to jobs, even reach jobs that you aren’t fully qualified for. If rejection is the worst thing that can happen, it’s worth giving it a shot.
Talent and exposure can make up for a lack of training.
Elvis was never trained professionally as a singer or musician. He learned to play everything by ear and immersed himself in music in Memphis. He found wild success this way, even if it meant having more obstacles to overcome in the process of being discovered. A college degree isn’t always the solution to finding a stable job or your future career. Many jobs are transitioning away from these requirements and selecting people who are self-taught or have learned on the job, and there is an emergence of “new-collar” jobs that don’t require a traditional college degree. If you do not have a college education, don’t be discouraged or think that the only way to finding success is through higher education. There are many avenues that can lead you to a lot of success without ever attending university.
Want more information on how you can accelerate your job search and career? Leave your details below and we’ll get in touch 🙂