Friday, April 11, 2008

Maximum Effort Helps to Achieve Maximum Result

A good friend called me to report on the illustration submissions she had received for a children’s book project of hers. “I’m planning to go with the person who put in the most effort,” she said.

She went on to say that, in order not to ask for too much on spec, she had only requested the finalists to each submit one drawing each for the children’s book. Some people had submitted the one requested drawing, and several people had submitted two or three drawings. Then there was the person who submitted several drawings in different styles, complete with connecting these drawings with the book text.

My friend had already selected the illustrators whose style she liked best. Thus she already knew she liked this person’s style when he put in the most effort. She said to me, “It just goes to show that maximum effort can often win the deal.”

She and I then went on to discuss a different situation – one in which a young person we know is applying to a post-baccalaureate program. We discussed how going the extra mile in this case could also possibly cinch the deal.

My friend makes a good point. While I advocate, for example, applying to an internship that doesn’t exist and therefore there are no competitors, if there are lots of competitors, it is very important to stand out. And one way to stand out is to do more than the other applicants. In other words, clearly demonstrate by your actions that you really, really want this job or internship.

The next time you are applying for something – be it college or an internship or a job – don’t do the minimum asked for if you really want what you’re applying for. Go the extra mile – do the maximum you can do to prove your interest. You may be surprised what going the extra mile may achieve for you.

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