Another key Rule. You need to observe this one faithfully, without exception, because it's your barometer. How else will you know how effective your efforts have been?
How it works: Say, for instance, that you've submitted your resume for a position. All the other advice givers tell you to call the recruiter or hiring manager to make sure they got it, press for an interview, try to pry details about the position out of anyone you encounter along the way. But you'll have no idea how effective your resume is using those techniques. Is the person doing the hiring just giving you an interview because you were aggressive enough to pursue it? But will you be sufficiently qualified to pass the interview once you're up against people who might have a better skill set?
To be honest about it, you stand a better chance of getting hired for a position if your skills are not the weakest in the group. Neither does having the strongest set of skills guarantee you the position either. What you need to be is firmly in the middle. You can't tell if your resume is good enough for consideration, but yet not so good that it inspires fear in your potential hiring manager and future colleagues. They all operate under the assumption that you might be ambitious and talented enough to replace them. So a really aggressive candidate might get in the door, but they won't get any farther than that.
Actually, you can tell how your resume is playing in Peoria - by observing carefully the reaction of those who receive it. Do they call you right away after receiving it? Or does a disinterested third party call you to set up an interview? If you don't get a call at all... do nothing. They have to have the interest on their side. They have to pull you into the organization. You can't push your way in.
Remember that when you're joining an organization, you're at your most vulnerable politically. Generally, you don't have the network and reputation that you will eventually acquire. If they aren't the ones forging your path and supporting your entry into the group, then things may be much tougher if not impossible for you when you join. The harder you push, the greater the resistance you will encounter.
In other terms, you have to wait and see what their reaction is to things (like your resume and your interviewing style) so that you have an accurate gauge of how well you did. If your resume opens the door to many interviews without your having to pursue hiring managers and recruiters, but your interview to offer ratio is too high, then you know that the problem is in the way you interview. If your resume submittal to contact ratio is higher than it should be, then you know it's your resume that's weaker. If your offers seem to fall through quite often, then you're not qualifying the companies strictly enough or your compensation negotiation skills need polishing.
When you let them react first and observe what that reaction is, without guiding or prompting or nagging, you get a rare chance to see an honest response to your entire package. Don't blow that opportunity. Truth is scarce in the corporate world!
(Second Fairy's Opinion)
What excellent advice this is. It's simple in concept, but tough to do if you've been a Rules-breaker for years and just have to "take control" of things and "make things happen". The problem is, you are really not making things happen. Well, you are, but not the right kinds of things.
There is an art to exerting control and getting your way without the other person really being aware of what you want to get done and why. Men, especially, do not like to be directed by anyone. Do not take it personally; it is not you. They are competitive and have a strong drive for autonomy. This is how our society raises little boys.
So, what is the Job Fairy angle on this Rule? There are two ways to interpret it. The first way is during the interview phase. Do not call. Do not pursue. Do not make the mistake of wanting to follow up with the recruiter or the hiring manager, or somebody, anybody, in the mistaken hope that it will speed up the process. Firstly, it does not. Secondly, the more you interact with them, the more opportunities they will have to screen you out. That is what you do not want.
The second way to interpret this Rule is in the post-hiring phase. Let us say you have played your cards right and you have been hired at a wonderful company. Your boss is great, but you think he could be doing several things better than he is. Keep your trap shut. Bosses may be a pain in the seat cushion, but they get where they are because they are more politically perceptive than you. They are not more skilled; they just are better at making the people above them happy. Moreover, they probably have been doing so for quite some time.
If your boss solicits your input, then you might suggest an improvement. Even then, taking into account all the other things that have been published on this site - I would not. Do not try to cajole your boss, push him in a certain direction, or nag him about anything. What your boss wants is an employee that makes him look good, and that does not cause any trouble for him. He wants someone loyal and that he knows he can trust. He does not want to have to worry that you will try to make him look bad and take his position. It happens more than you think. In addition, these people think in political terms more than operational ones.
So to ensure the longevity of your job (so that you're there as long as you wish to be, not as long as they wish you to be), keep your ears open and your mouth closed. Once you become a supervisor, then you can direct people to do things. However, by then, you will have figured out how to do it using finesse, not raw power.