Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice
On this Independence Day Holiday I am reflecting on the underlying strengths of our nation.
Our country is built on the lofty values of liberty, justice and freedom. Based on those values, we united and fought hard to win our independence. It was our clear and unifying vision that empowered us forward.
In the same way, to achieve career success, you need to have a clear understanding of your values and preferences, and of course, job skills. Clients who achieve great career success understand exactly who they are, what they have to offer, and how they prefer to work. They learn and practice to articulate all of that in a clear and compelling way. They know that they need to positively persuade everyone who will influence the decision to work with them from potential employers, to recruiters, to investors, to colleagues, and others.
Below are the five dimensions that will help you develop your career profile. A clear profile, articulated with strength and conviction, will give you the best chance to open new doors for career opportunities.
Answer these 5 questions
For each category, indicate which of the two descriptions best match your style. Get a piece of paper and number 1-5 with enough space to write a few sentences in each category. Select one of the two descriptions that most closely reflects your style. Add examples and anecdotes to show how that trait plays out at work. Weave in specific skills and contributions you have made through your work style:
- Independent vs. Collaborative– Imagine you are assigned a project. Is your first instinct to try to plan and work it out on your own, or do you look for others to bounce ideas off? Naturally, there is typically a combination of independent and collaborative work involved, but do you have the kind of mind that likes to begin to solve problems on your own or do you prefer to be in a team setting?
- Introvert vs. Extrovert – Honestly, where do you feel most energized, working and spending time alone or with others? After a long day at work do you prefer to go out with people, or go home to be alone with your thoughts as a way of de-stressing?
- Structured vs. Spontaneous – Do you prefer to have your week planned out with most of the hours accounted for or do you prefer having broad parameters and filling your schedule as you go along? Is the thought of an unplanned weekend good news or bad news to you. Again, most of us are a combination but we do have a preferred style of where we get energized, alone or with others.
- Involved Management vs. Hands-Off Management – Do you look forward to working closely with a manager or do you like to have general direction and basically be left on your own to carry out your work? Are you a self starter or do you prefer a lot of direction from a manager?
- Industry Specific vs. Job Specific – Is it more important for you to be working with an organization that represents products or services you can personally relate to and support, or is it more important for you to use your skill set regardless of the industry?
Now that you’ve completed this quiz and written out a few sentences for each category, you are beginning to have a career profile. Practice articulating your profile to others and ask for feedback on clarity and impact. Review and edit to truly reflect your authentic self. People feel more inclined to work with others whom they feel are honest and self-aware.
Just as the our country was founded on clear ideals and values, so too is your career success founded on a clear and compelling career profile. Construct and practice an authentic and strong profile. It will allow you to find the right environments where you can use your talents and prosper.
Onward in your career success,