SECURE THE JOB YOU WANT & EXCEL
The first step to securing the right job is to do a personal inventory of yourself. Be honest in identifying your strengths and weaknesses from the standpoint of getting things done and working with other.
Ask yourself, what are you especially good at? What types of activities do you most enjoy? What are you most interested in? Do you get turned on by interacting with people, being on the Internet or making things? What type of work best suits you — being in some type of profession or working in personal services, retailing, technology, communications, natural resources or manufacturing.
Do you think you would prefer to work in a large, established organization or in a small, less formal organization? There are pros and cons to both large and small employers. One’s job responsibilities are usually more tightly defined in larger organizations but they are more likely to offer formal training programs. Looking ahead, do you see yourself being happiest as an entrepreneur or working for someone else.
When I was starting my career, I knew that I would not be happy working at a large, bureaucratic corporation. Instead, I wanted to work at a small firm where I could benefit from having lots of contact with the owners and, as a result, more quickly learn about the business.
Doing a personal inventory is the starting point. You need to identify a career field that appears to best match your personal aptitudes, abilities and interests. While these will change over time as you gain more experience, there is one overriding fact of life. The more you enjoy what you are doing, the better you will do it. To be hugely successful in your career, you have to have a passion for your work. You need to be proud of what you do, regardless of what it is and how much you are paid.
In addition, you have to think in the broadest sense about what have been your past accomplishments and what are your personal assets that might be applicable to a job, even stretching it a bit. What projects have you been involved in? Can you give examples of when you demonstrated initiative, creativity, leadership or teamwork skills? The reality is that getting a job requires “selling” yourself.
To assist in determining the right job and vocation for yourself, develop a set of written worksheets under each of these subject headings: “Things I Like Doing”, “Things I Don’t Like Doing”, “Options”, “Past Accomplishments” and “Skills”. Make the first two worksheets task and function oriented. As you progress in your career, review and update these worksheets on a regular basis.
Your most important asset in finding the right job is having a diverse network of friends, contacts and associates to utilize as a source of information and advice. You should start building such a network when you are young, with your teachers and professors, and continue doing so throughout the rest of your life. Make an ongoing effort to stay in touch with these individuals, congratulate them on their accomplishments and promotions, and demonstrate that you are thinking of them from time to time and are interested in how they are doing both personally and work-wise. Look for ways to perform small or large favors for those people to help them remember you.
Take advantage of opportunities to expand your network through meeting people you otherwise would not meet. Engage in volunteer activities and attend alumni meetings, cultural events, professional gatherings and speaker clubs. Preferably do so on your own so you are forced to meet different people.
Finally, Google “finding the right job” for more career ideas and sources of information to help advance your thinking. Consider taking some of the free career online tests you will find there.
Appendix 1. Personal Worksheet Sample
Appendix 2. Résumé Sample
Appendix 3. Covering Letter Sample
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