What do you want?
Aside from articulating your strengths and crafting stories that let your experiences shine, there’s another area that shouldn’t be overlooked in your career planning. It’s not just about what employers are seeking, it’s also about what you want and need to succeed.
A job search is all about fit and match. You can say the perfect things to get yourself hired, but if you aren’t being true to yourself, it may not be very long before your find yourself applying elsewhere. Take some time to think about your work preferences:
- What type of working environment are you looking for?
- Under what management style do you best thrive?
- Do you prefer working in teams or independently?
- Would you be ok if you only see your boss once a week?
- What kind of challenges excite you?
- What are some of your personal values and how do they fit in with your professional endeavors?
- How does a position fit within your long term personal and professional goals?
Although you may not have a professional point of reference to analyze, think about instances (in the classroom, on the field, as a leader, in an internship, etc) where you have felt supported, and at your best. What were some of the factors contributing to that? Perhaps seeking similar factors in a work environment would keep you engaged.
Before you start crossing possibilities off your list, however, keep in mind: you may not find your “ideal” right away, you also are a contributing factor in your work environment, there will be an adjustment period no matter what, and sometimes it’s best to get out of your comfort zone entirely. Don’t get so caught up in finding a match for all of your preferences that you miss out on the perfect career fit for right now.
~Gwen Miller, associate director, career development