A Better Signal Than Credentials

Being a “natural” in today’s work space is starting to catch on, it’s becoming an imperative to blur the line between work and play, and perform in your flow state at what you do all day long.

Doing what you’re best at is no longer a luxury. It’s tougher than ever to launch a career or land a new job if you haven’t found your talent sweet spot. It’s also clear that college credentials carry less of an advantage. Lots of highly educated professionals have degrees that don’t suit them. Gallup polls consistently find that recent grads and young professionals want more engagement, but your boss can’t help you if you don’t know what you’re innately cut out for. Although no one wants to feel like Milton, the “red stapler” guy in the classic movie Office Space who’s pretending to like his job, many unintentionally end up in this situation.

In response to a glutted market of mis-educated and overly credentialed people, the best and coolest companies have adapted their hiring tools. They’re looking beyond college brands, résumés and experience to see the real you. To find the right people they are now using natural ability tests and Big Data to screen for those with specific innate talents or a natural “knack” for the job. To even get your foot in the door, you have to be authentic and walk the talk. Name brand credentials will soon be a relic of the past, and as NYTimes columnist Thomas Friedman argued: Average is over. The right doors will open once you close the gap between the “work me” and the “real me”—work-life integration is much sweeter than work-life balance compromises.

Getting in the zone to do great work flows naturally when you combine your strengths with clear direction and genuine commitment. The game is changing—if you’re a natural and care about what you do, you’ll be in demand for premium career paths in your field of choice.