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Putting First Things First: Self-Assessment

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Ask: Who am I? What do I want out of life? A job? A career? Where am I going? Do I know how to get there? Have I been happy in my work/career/profession? What would I like to change?

  1. Always take a personal inventory. What do I like? What am I good at? What kinds of people do I like to work with? What industries interest me? Ask lots of questions. The answers will lead you to your next job.

  2. Be aware of what the marketplace wants. Read. Research. Ask questions. What are the hot industries, fields, and companies in your area? Who's hiring? Who's laying off? How do you fit in the new job market?



  3. List three things you liked about each of your last three jobs. Look for common threads. Try to repeat these in your next job.

  4. Skills sell. Make a list of the things you know how to do really well. They are the keys to your next job.

  5. While job hunting take a class or go to school at night. The more skills you have, the more employable you are. Schools are great places to network, too.

  6. Think "currency"-current skills translate into salary dollars. Stay on the cutting edge in your field. You're only as good as your marketable skills.

  7. Imagine you're a product and you're taking that product to market. Why should a company "buy" your product? What makes you unique, special, different?

  8. Can you list your own features and benefits? You'll need to "sell" them in an interview.

  9. Identify your needs. What's important to you? Power? Status? Money? Creativity? Teamwork? Autonomy?

  10. Know the competition. How do you compare with your peers in education, experience, training, salary, career progression? Hot products move. Are you new and improved or just the same old, same old.

  11. Learn to toot your own horn. Time yourself five minutes and write down every compliment you've received on the job, formal (performance appraisal) or informal. (You'll be surprised how terrific you really are!)

  12. Recruiters care about two things-credentials and personality. Can you do the job based on past performance and will you fit in with the corporate culture?

  13. Personality is important. List three of your positive personality traits (for example, dependable, friendly, resourceful), then give an example of how you demonstrate each trait on the job. How you act is as important as what you can do.

  14. Past performance is the best indicator of future performance. If you were successful at one company, odds are you can succeed at another.

  15. Focus your effort. The shotgun approach to job seeking is too scattered. Target specific fields, industries, and companies for your job search; then take aim and fire.

  16. Always plan ahead. Plan A is landing the optimal job that meets all of your requirements-money, duties, location, etc. Plans B and C are your fallback positions.

  17. Execute Plan A for the first one to two months. Then go right into Plan B. Remember, your next job will most likely not be your last anyway.

  18. Is self-employment for you?

  19. Maybe you should go back to school for more training, to finish a degree, to pick up another one.

  20. No money for school? Visit the financial aid office of your local college or junior college to inquire about grants, low-interest student loans, or scholarships.

  21. Haven't the foggiest idea what you want to do? Go to the career placement office of your local junior college for low-cost, sometimes free, career testing or assessment.

  22. Honor your values and priorities. If family time is important to you, don't consider jobs with overtime, heavy travel, or demanding work schedules. Never lose sight of your priorities in life.

  23. Research the market and know the salary range for your particular field, industry, level of expertise. Use the library. Ask colleagues. Call your professional association.

  24. The last word on salary-you're worth as much as you say you're worth.

  25. Make the business section of the library your second home.

  26. Don't get hung up on fancy job titles, big corporate names, glitzy fields, glamorous industries. You want a job that pays you well to do the work you enjoy. Period.

  27. Don't hang onto the glamour and status of your old company. There are plenty of great companies out there that thrive in obscurity. Glamour and status don't pay the rent.

  28. Look for a job that makes you happy. Start noticing what interests you, excites you, makes you smile.

  29. Visualize success. See yourself in your new job, making the salary you deserve, working with people you like and respect, doing interesting work, being happy.

  30. Re-engineer yourself. New products sell. Old products don't. Investigate a new hairstyle, cut, or color. Look progressive.

  31. Dress to impress. Invest in an interview wardrobe. You'll need more than one outfit since you'll interview more than once at any given company.

  32. Get feedback from friends and colleagues on your body language, appearance, voice, posture.

  33. First impressions are lasting impressions. Spend as much as you can on high-quality interview clothes, including shoes and briefcase. Opt for stylish, tailored designs in neutral business colors. And go easy on the jewelry.

  34. Success sells. Know your past achievements, triumphs, accomplishments. Be prepared to toot your own horn.

  35. Life is dealing you a new hand. One closed door often leads to another open door. Be open to all the possibilities: New field, industry, location, structure, environment, culture, people.

If this article has helped you in some way, will you say thanks by sharing it through a share, like, a link, or an email to someone you think would appreciate the reference.







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