In my experience coaching people with their careers, the toughest question I ask people is always the same:
“What do you want to do?”
Everyone has a pretty good idea what they don’t want to do, but not really sure what they would rather do instead.
What am I good at?
A lot of times people may have a general sense – knowing the industry, function or even company they want to target. However. many have no idea and don’t know where to start. I recommend starting with some basic questions:
1. What are the best moments of your current job?
2. What does that entail doing?
3. Why do you enjoy that work?
4. Are there any jobs where being good at this skill would make sense?
What can I do with that?
Understanding this helps you start think about some possible jobs or careers that may be of interest. If you don’t have a good sense of the options out there – talk to people that do. People with more years experience, friends or family in different industries – whoever is going to be open and honest with you about what they really do in their job.
Ok – now what’s my story?
As you move on to actually applying for jobs, getting your story straight is imperative. A lot of people will apply for jobs and give up at the first sign of rejection. Rejection is part of the game. However, when you are prepared with a strong understanding of what you are bringing to the table, you can give the company less ammunition to reject you or be able to communicate more effectively with the people you do end up talking with.
Getting your story right means figuring out (and often writing out):
1. Why do you want to make the change?
2. What makes you a good fit for this new job?
3. What skills from my current role translate well into the new role or company?
4. What is special about me and what are the core strengths I am bringing to the table?
This puts you in a good position as you start to get interviews or network with people. More on this later.