Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Career Competency #4: Well.Defined.Focus

This week’s competency is as follows:  I have a well-defined career objective that focuses my job search on particular organizations and employers

This one addresses several different themes, most notably a “well-defined career objective”. How is it defined?  Well, simply put, it is a specific statement that zeros in on precisely who you are and what you want to achieve in your next job/occupation.  It seems so easy to do, doesn’t it – but the fact of the matter is that it is one of the hardest tasks to do.  Why?  Because it requires you to assess yourself, research the market, identify your overarching career goals, analyze your “gaps”, and develop your action plan.

So, let me ask you a few questions:
  • Can you list your desired position types by function or industry?
  • Do you know the primary qualifications needed for these positions?
  • What have you learned about the companies and industries that interest you?
  • What are the responsibilities of these positions?
  • What are the positives and negatives about these functions and/or industries?
  • What challenges might you face in pursuing this type of position in these types of companies/industries?
  • What type of networking activities have you done or will do to find valuable connections within these companies/industries?
  • How have you or will you identify people with whom you can conduct information-gathering meetings?

Before you can even attempt to craft your well-defined career objective, you need to have given time and effort into the questions above.  You can’t write a saleable resume without understanding what the job entails and how it matches with what you have to offer.

The subject of putting an objective on a resume has been the topIc of vigorous debate.  Recent trends in writing career objectives show that a huge percentage of today’s resumes begin with a headline that clearly communicates “who” the candidate is and “what” they want.  Hiring professionals can instantly find the information they want from a sales professional applicant by the headline “Multilingual Sales Executive and Key Account Manager.”  This, of course, gets placed at the top of the resume.  It solves the “wimpy- career-objective problem” which HR folks hate, and tells them you have confidence and focus.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Next 10 Years...

Today's competency addresses whether or not you know what you want to do during the next 10 years. 10 years, you ask??? How old will you be? How will you define yourself and will you have accomplished your goals?

If it seems to you that 10 years is WAAY too far into the future to plan, well, in a way it is. It does, however, present you with a unique challenge----and that challenge is the essence of your career management strategy: how DO you want to shape your next 10 years, or is it OK with you for someone else to define it for you? As someone once said, "if you don't know where you're going, any path will take you there." Any path, anyone, anything that you just fall into will shape your future - and that, my friends might just not work for you.

So, as you visualize your next ten years, who will be in the driver's seat of your life? How will you define success? What will you be doing? How satisfied will you be with your life?

If 10 years seems like a lifetime, break your goals and plans and action steps down into a 3-5 year time span, or even in one-year increments. Don't let life just happen to you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What do you like?

This week's career competency concerns your career interests and your personality traits:

"I know what I both like and dislike in work"
Since so many of the 27 career competencies are related, this one primarily speaks to understanding what you enjoy doing and not doing at work. (Additional factors that could influence these feelings include: the size of the firm, industry, culture, and the people you might work with). Your motivated skills, your strongest abilities and skills, and your pattern of major achievements (addressed in prior blog posts) all speak to our likes and dislikes. Each one of us have certain work tasks we must do, but also have tasks we generally enjoy - maybe even look forward to- as well as those we lose ourselves in.

What do you think of when you read this??

I believe the best way to assess yourself on this competency is to ask yourself the BIG IDEA question: what is my visualization of my perfect job and place?

John Holland's long-standing career theory - called the trait-and-factor-theory- and the theory which most interest inventories are based on posits that one's career interests are related to the personality traits exhibited by the people who are employed in that occupation. What do you think?

Lots to post's competency: what do you want to do in the next 10 years?