Whether you’re a college student preparing to join the ranks of the employed or a mid-career executive considering a transition, you would be well advised to pursue some strategic soul-searching before beginning to network or sending out your resume. Surprisingly few people take the time to invest in this critical process, but interviewers can sense a lack a direction a mile away. Identifying your passion and determining your path before you begin applying for jobs will make your job search more focused and your interview style more impactful. We strongly recommend you take the time to develop personal clarity on your abilities and how they align with your goals before beginning any job search.

Three reasons why taking the time to self-assess will pay off:

  • Your story is more authentic when you have clarity on what position you want and how your skills make you a good fit in that role. Go ahead and try a quick elevator pitch right now. I guarantee you’ll stumble on your words and backtrack to explain yourself. Once you thoroughly assess your strengths and objectives, your elevator pitch will have authenticity and consistency and will come naturally. Just as importantly, you will deliver it with confidence.
  • Defining your goals will allow you to define your brand and thus market yourself as a candidate more effectively. Who you are and what you have to offer an employer will emerge through the assessment process. Consider great advertising like “Just Do It” or “Got Milk?” These slogans didn’t happen without marketing research and strategic planning to define the brands which generated clarity for communication that worked. Do the same for your brand and you’ll find it easier to market yourself into that dream job.
  • Many employers will ask you to take a psychometric assessment test and you can’t fake your way through that. According to Matthew Clarkson in his Talent Assessments Smart Recruiters Blog, more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies utilize psychometric profiling in their recruiting efforts. You’ll have an advantage when taking this type of assessment if you’ve done a preliminary assessment on your own and have a handle on your strengths and challenges and how your aptitudes align with your chosen profession and your personality fits with their specific corporate culture.

Luckily for job seekers, there is a plethora of resources available to assist in the self-assessment process. One can turn to some tried and true books. Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron guides you in utilizing your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator results to determine your best path. The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success by Nicholas Lore uses personal, less formal career assessments. StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath is a personal favorite as it guides the user in identifying and applying strengths for use in daily life. If this is your first attempt at self-assessment, another excellent option is to avail yourself of the services of a career coach who can partner with you to effectively define your strengths and align them with your goals as well as providing you with tools and resources for an effective and strategic job search.

Designing a master plan for your career will ultimately save you time and money in the job search, give you confidence, help you to better articulate your interests and abilities to others, and aid you in making better decisions as you navigate your career. An added bonus is that having a plan will also make you better at your job since you will operate with increased focus on your personal goals for achievement and growth. The need for self-assessment is life long so take the plunge and start now.

DEBBIE VAN SOLKEMA, is a career coach with expertise in guiding leaders towards identifying their passions, teaching them to target jobs that will best utilize their skills and tap their interests, and providing them with the confidence and tools they will need for a lifetime in navigating their careers. To connect with Debbie on how she can assist you and your organization, visit our contact page or message her directly at DebVanSolkema@hotmail.com.