If you ain’t first, you’re last.

Ricky Bobby: If you ain’t first, you’re last. You know, you know what I’m talking about? [to television camera]

Ricky Bobby: That there is trademarked, not to be used without written permission of Ricky Bobby, Inc.


At the talk I am giving tonight, I will start with the line, “Workplaces are getting more and more competitive. The stakes are high, the competition is tough, and the economy is uncertain.”

And that is if you have a job. What if you don’t?

I talk about the Ricky Bobby quote to my students. Most jobs have one opening. You either get the job or you don’t. See the connection?

Most applicants don’t have the talent to get the job, and even if they do, they don’t stand out enough. As a counterexample, consider the guy who has the best resume ever (story). Consider also the provocative post by Cal Newport about how to get into Stanford with B’s on your transcript. And if not being first is unacceptable, be sure to check out Newport’s excellent book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

How would you get so good that they can’t ignore you?