Who commits to conducting a career inventory? Where is that on the list? In creating this mental inventory and mental map, I wanted to share what decisions I made and how you can do the same. It started with a book I read, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. After reading the book, I asked myself, why I don’t trust my instinct as much as I should? Had I trusted my instinct more, I would not only had made better decisions in general, but also, more efficient decisions when it came to my career.
Decision-making is half of what we do in our career, and I don’t just mean on the job, but what leads us to decide what we study in school, how we use it to our advantage and how we market our personal brand; in today’s job-market it’s about your brand, not just what you write on your resume. Before I continue to write about my decisions, I will outline how I created my inventory and how I mapped out my decisions. It may sound like, “oh goodness, how much time will it take, I barely have any anyway,” when actually, it’s easier than you think. Before you read further, grab your iPad, notebook, journal, anything that helps your create the space you need with yourself, to reflect, not to just think, take this a step further. Dig deep, and ask yourself, am I really where I want to be? Now here are the four areas I actively, over and over again, evaluated:
1) Competencies – The word competency is defined as the “ability to do something successfully and efficiently.” What are your best competencies? Review your resume- look at your accomplishments, and when you read them, what provokes you to jump for joy? Take note of that, and embellish those competencies in how you focus your career. Ask yourself, is this my passion or am I missing something? Take it a step further, where did you see yourself in high school? Is that where you are now, or is there a missing link?
2) Education – Common concerns about education are time, money and logistics. My advice, think about each bridge separately. What I mean is, why think about money and logistics when you haven’t even, sent in your application or taken the entrance exam? Think about crossing that bridge when it comes, otherwise step back and realize that the best investment you can make is in yourself. To start off, remember bad debt vs. good debt. Lets put it this way, buying a new car is bad debt, because the minute you drive it off, you’re losing that much money. When you go to school, you gain knowledge, networking contacts and opportunities. You are hired for your capital, your mind, and the value you add- can you really go wrong here?
3) Career Focus – Thinking about the career you have chosen, ask yourself where do you see yourself in five years. Define your gap, and analyze what you require yourself to commit to in a list of action steps to fill this gap. Think about the word focus, it’s not objective, keep yourself open to different opportunities which can take you further to what you want, because, you may surprise yourself.
4) Personality – Known as your personal brand- what are you known for and what do people ask you for the most? Do you adequately market these qualities effectively in business meetings, job interviews and through your online image? Why or why not? Talk to people, your references, past colleagues, your friends, and check-in with yourself. Sell you, not just your resume.