Love Apple and the iPhone? It’s more than an awesome smartphone — it can teach you how to stand out in your career, too.
If you haven’t been on the Internet — or in contact with other human beings — over the past few days, you should know that Apple recently released its plans for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
As could be expected, the civilized world let out a collective “squee!”
Why are we reporting on this? Because you can learn a few things from the storm Apple products garner. Say what you will of the brand and its products, but Apple knows how to create and sell things people can’t wait to get their hands on. And you can follow their example to make your best product — yourself — an equally hot commodity. (Click here to tweet this quote.)
Let’s take a look at what Apple keeps doing right, and what you can learn from it.
It’s all about the experience
From the feel of using their product to the way people are greeted at the Apple Store, the company takes great pains to ensure the experience of being an Apple customer is unique and enjoyable. As Carmine Gallo, author of The Apple Experience, has said, “Apple employees are not in the business of selling computers; they are in the business of enriching lives.”
How do you replicate this for your career? Make sure the experience of working with you is one people won’t soon forget. Whether you’re helping out a colleague, spearheading that new project or interviewing for a job, focus on being the sort of person other people clamor to work with.
Be helpful, be compassionate, be humorous, be reliable. Make people enjoy working with you, and you’ll quickly become their go-to guy (or gal).
Never stop improving
Does anyone really care if the new iPhone is a bit thinner, has more rounded edges and features a somewhat larger screen? Yes, yes they do. Because people are always looking for “better,” and Apple knows that.
Each new iteration of the iPhone creates a buzz because Apple constantly finds new ways to tweak and improve what they offer. The iPhone 6 is faster, sleeker and even easier to use, and customers will pay a premium to know they’ve got the “latest and greatest.”
When it comes to your career, this focus on continual improvement is your key to advancing. Your education doesn’t stop when you graduate college or master your current position; keep looking for ways to hone your skills and learn new ones and you’ll remain in-demand.
Know (and delight) your audience
Apple knows what its customers want. From easier navigation to their “Bust Selfies” feature that lets you take a rapid series of camera shots, they listen to (and anticipate) their customers’ needs and wants and use this knowledge to make products that get people excited. (Have you heard about the Apple Watch?)
Stay one step ahead of your audience by identifying their needs and finding ways to position yourself as the solution. Solve the problems your boss needs solving. Volunteer for extra responsibilities. Position yourself as the best investment your potential employer will ever make. Know your strengths and play to your audiences’ pain points, and they’ll be climbing over each other to get you in their corner.
Kelly Gurnett runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits and is the Editor-in-Chief of All Things Career. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.