CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JUN. 17, 2016
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Career Lessons From ‘Catch Me if You Can’

What is there to learn from an ex-criminal about careers? The answer is a lot! This movie teaches valuable lessons. This is how they can help you out.

Anyone who watched Steven Spielberg’s film Catch Me If You Can (2002) has one thing to say; Leonardo DiCaprio is an awesome actor. Starring as Frank Abagnale, DiCaprio manages to encapsulate the real identity of the character and gives one of his best performances. But, above all, he manages to communicate the right message to the world, the one that was hidden in the life of Abagnale.

In case you haven’t watched it, the movie is based on the life of Frank Abagnale, one of the most famous con-artists in the 20th century who assumed many jobs: pretending to be a Pan Am pilot, a doctor, a teacher and an attorney. Abagnale was chased and eventually caught by the FBI, who imprisoned him for five years. But, he turned his life around and currently teaches FBI Agents about fraud and owns a multi-dollar million consulting firm.

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Abagnale’s story although troublesome is also inspiring and there are many career lessons that you can learn from just watching the movie.

#1 Confidence is a Must

confident man Shutterstock

Abagnale had never been to an airport when he decided he wanted to become – or better yet impersonate a pilot. But, as soon as he got there he acted like it was his second home and showed unbreakable confidence, even though he was dying on the inside. His assertiveness helped him gain the respect of pilots and even get control of a plane (with a copilot thankfully). Abagnale proved that even though your instinct is telling you no, there are some times when ‘faking it until you make it’ really works.

#2 Resourcefulness Over Experience

Most of the time being resourceful is more important than having experience. Abagnale’s ability to learn quickly and think on his feet, allowed him to mingle well and communicate with many highly-educated people who were twice his age and came from a range of different career fields. Despite the fact that he wasn’t as educated as them, he managed to fake his way into some of the most highly prestigious jobs in the US. This means that no qualification or diploma is more important than your talent and natural abilities.

#3 Dress the Part

leonardo dicaprio dressed as doctor Daily Mail

What’s impressive about Abagnale is that he could easily change his appearance to get into the character he was impersonating. Changes in his clothing style helped him to fit in without getting noticed. Dressing the part shows commitment to the role you are in or if you like, the position you are trying to get. Appearances can be deceiving, so when you are going in for an interview, dress like you already have the job, and you are more likely to get it.

#4 Age Means Nothing

Abagnale was only seventeen years old when he started cashing false checks, making passports, made a fake doctor’s license, and even a fake Harvard diploma to impersonate an attorney. But, he was also seventeen when he started to travel the world and landed himself a bunch of impressive careers. This shows that anyone with the right amount of determination and confidence can succeed regardless of their age or knowledge.

#5 Take Risks

man standing on mountain Business Insider

Looking at Abagnale’s history and career path you can tell how many risks he has taken to get to where he is now. Even though most of the time he did it without knowing, he prepared himself for a career that suited him and required him to use his natural abilities. When leaving home at the age of sixteen, he knew very little about banking, but then after five years he became the owner of a wealthy security consulting company and a well-respected member of the FBI. The prime lesson? Don’t fear the unknown.

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While condemning his crimes, you have to give it to Abagnale for building a successful career in banking security out of nothing. Being in a number of prestigious professions, he managed to show that he knows what he is doing and how to succeed.

Have you watched the movie? What other lessons do you think we can learn from it? Let me know in the comments section below…

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