by Susan Guarneri
Your career journey of a lifetime can turn out to be a nightmare (from bad to worse experiences), a series of boring and tedious jobs, fulfilling and exciting “dream jobs” or something in between. Here is my insider secret as a career coach and counselor: you can be more in control of what your career future delivers than you ever anticipated. It simply takes a combination of IN-sight and OUT-sight to provide the right signposts to follow.
IN-sight means understanding yourself and your personal assets so that you can clearly communicate your uniqueness and potential value to an employer or to your customers, if you chose to be an entrepreneur and start your own small business. Career assessments can assist you in this self-discovery process, but remember — you are a complex human being. Thoroughly understanding yourself takes more than one self-assessment; it includes surveying all of the following aspects:
1. Motivated skills — These are the skills you are at least reasonably good at and enjoy using. You will want to avoid burnout skills which are the skills you are also good at, but dislike using. A job that is predominantly comprised of burnout skills can drain your energy and leave you feeling like a hollow shell.
2. Interests and passions — To be truly engaged in your work, you must be interested in what you are doing, the environment in which you are doing it, and the people with whom you interact. This need is basic to human nature. Too often we try to convince ourselves that we can “put up with” a job if it pays enough. How much compensation is required to make up for being miserable every day in your job, and taking that misery home to your family?
3. Personality type — Your personal style relates to your primary sources of energy and motivation, how you process information and make decisions, your preferred communications and leadership behaviors, and the degree to which you prefer structure and plans versus a more spontaneous approach to life and work. These are some of the innate preferences determined by your personality type. Whether your job is aligned with your personal style or not can prove to be an important factor in your career satisfaction.
4. Values and goals — Determining what you want out of a career so you can have a better life starts with identifying and assessing your high-priority values and goals. With alignment in these critical areas, you will find you are living a life on purpose, with meaning and significance beyond a paycheck. What do you say are your top-priority values and goals? Does your current career or job actually align with those values and goals? If not, why not?
Caveat: use career assessments with the guidance of a certified career counselor or career coach. Highly reliable and valid career assessments, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, can be accessed only by certified professionals who are authorized to purchase, administer, and interpret your individual assessment results.
OUT-sight has to do with what others think of you, your personal brand, and your perceived value. This element is often forgotten in traditional career counseling or coaching programs, but is vitally important. It rounds out what you discover about yourself with objective feedback from others who know you well. Why is personal branding so important? In my career-coaching practice, I find that the overlap between what you know about yourself and what others know about you is on average 50 percent. In other words, you possess an additional 50 percent in personal assets (unique brand value) that others can quickly identify, but that are unknown to you! Imagine how useful that additional personal-branding information could be in turning around a previously unproductive job search or in launching a small business start-up. As a Certified Master Branding Strategist, I use the 360Reach personal branding assessment with accompanying 20+ page report to uncover this vital OUT-sight component in my LEAP Program for career focus.
Final Thoughts: Choose YOUR Career Direction
Yes, “being in the right place at the right time” and knowing the “right people” does matter. That scenario has to do with the tactical execution of your IN-sight and OUT-sight knowledge. But even those “golden opportunities” will come more easily to those who are a) clear about what they want, b) articulate about what they have to offer of value, and c) proactive (not simply reacting to what fate delivers).
Your career plays an integral part in your life as a whole. Do you really want to leave the outcome up to chance? Why not instead use IN-sight and OUT-sight to propel your career path in the direction YOU choose?
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Susan Guarneri, the Career Assessment Goddess, specializes in integrating career assessment IN-sights and personal branding OUT-sights with a proactive career coaching approach to help professionals and executives take charge of their careers. One of nine Reach-certified Master Personal Branding Strategists, Susan holds a master’s degree in counseling from The Johns Hopkins University and 15 careers certifications, including National Certified Career Counselor and Master Resume Writer (Lifetime Achievement Award). Co-author of Job Search Bloopers (Career Press), Susan has been published in 100+ books and articles. With 25 years of career consulting experience, she has worked with individuals and Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, educational institutions, and government agencies. You can e-mail her, follow her on Twitter, and view her VideoBIO. Susan Guarneri © 2010 All Rights Reserved.
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