Many have said that luck happens when opportunity meets preparation. Others have said the harder they work, the luckier they get.
The idea is that a person has to take action in order to get lucky. "It's like the joke about the man who prayed every day to win the lottery," says Mark Chussil, author of "Nice Start: Questions Only You Can Answer to Create the Life Only You Can Live." "Finally, a deep, exasperated voice boomed from above, and said 'Buy a lottery ticket.'"
The best way to boost your luck is to create it. There are plenty of things you can do today that can potentially help you position yourself for a great opportunity. And when that time comes, you'll be ready to seize it.
So, if you've ever felt a little down on your luck when it comes to your career, here's what you can do to create it:
1. Have your elevator pitch memorized. "What do you do?" is probably one of the top three most common ice breakers in nearly all social situations. You should be able to sum up what you do and your career mission in one or two sentences. It should sound casual and unrehearsed (but you should rehearse). Make your elevator pitch as close to perfect as possible. Try it out on people and refine it as needed. Always end with a question to make sure you're opening up the dialogue.
2. Attend lots of networking events. "I attended a webinar sponsored by Harvard Business School (where I got my MBA)," Chussil says. "They asked for volunteers for a task in the webinar, and I stepped up."
A couple weeks later, Chussil received a book from HBS as a thank-you. In return, he sent them a copy of his own book and before he knew it, Harvard Business School asked him to deliver his own webinar. There's nothing like a dose of good career karma from stepping up and helping out. Networking events are a great way to set up opportunities for yourself.
3. Keep your resume updated—always. You never know when you'll need to send your resume ASAP. Let's say you're at a networking event, and you're chatting with someone about your work and accomplishments. If, later, they give you a call about an immediate opening at their company, the last thing you want is to tell a potential employer that you need some time before you can submit your resume.
Always be safe, rather than sorry—keep your resume updated at all times. It just takes about 15 to 30 minutes of your day (as needed) to make sure you've added all of your most recent skills and accomplishments.
4. Go above and beyond your tasks. Rather than just meeting the requirements of your job, go above and beyond your call of duty. Help the bottom line. Think like a team rather than an individual. Lend a hand in another department or project that may benefit from your skills.
Resume Guru Robert Dagnall offers one idea he got from a client of his, a marine officer, who had a standing order with his staff: "Never bring me a problem without also bringing me a solution."
Apply this mentality into the work you do. The more solution-oriented you are, the more opportunities and challenges you'll get.
5. Give positive thinking a try. If you're feeling down on your luck, the worst thing you can do is beat yourself up over it. Stay positive. Be proactive and get out there and do something. Any of the above steps will offer more control over your career trajectory. It's the first step to positioning yourself for more success. Positivity breeds success.
Ritika Trikha is a writer for CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. Check out CareerBliss for millions of job listings, company reviews, and salary information.