While you may think conducting a self-assessment and identifying elements of your dream job could be a waste of time in our current economy, we at mbaMission would challenge you to shift your perspective. Now, more than ever, you must know yourself and your goals. This will enable you to make decisions (and even trade-offs) on the best career path for you to pursue given the current market realities as well as articulate your value to a prospective employer.
As the job market gets more competitive—with fewer job opportunities becoming available, more talented candidates pursuing employment, and more companies making hiring decisions based on virtual interactions—effectively communicating who you are and the value you bring to an employer is of paramount importance.
Among other important questions, you will need to answer the following seemingly basic questions while networking and interviewing:
- Can you tell me about yourself?
- Why do you want to work at Company X?
- Why are you interested in Role A?
However, generic answers will not suffice; they will not differentiate you from the other candidates, nor will they lead to job offers. You need to convincingly articulate why you want the job and how you will contribute. To do this, consider the following questions. (Refer to the exercises shared in our “Defining Your Career Goals” and “How to Design Your Life” blog posts for additional perspectives and suggested ways to help you answer the questions below.)
Your Interests (Reflection)
- How do you want to spend your day? What skills do you want to use on a daily basis? What types of problems do you want to focus on solving?
- In what type of environment do you want to work? For what type of organization do you want to work (big, small, mission based, industry, etc.)?
- What are the most important elements for your next job? What do you want to achieve in the short and long term? What are your priorities (skill development, decision-making authority, industry experience, compensation, etc.)?
Your Target Industry/Company/Role (Research and Reflection)
- What are the trends and common challenges in your target industry? What is your perspective on how different companies can compete in the marketplace? How is your target company positioned for success?
- What is the foundation of your interest in the industry/company? What have you done to enhance your knowledge?
- What skills and areas of knowledge are required for the role? What personal attributes or traits appear to be most important to fit in with the culture of your target company?
Your Previous Experiences (Reflection)
- What skills and areas of knowledge have you developed that would enable you to immediately contribute to your target role? How have your previous experiences demonstrated your competency for the requirements and responsibilities of your target job?
- How have you demonstrated employee attributes/qualities that match with your target company?
- What specific examples illustrate the similarities between your previous work environment and your target company and its culture? Where are the gaps, and how have you been working to fill them?
Use your answers to the questions above to craft a concise and easy-to-follow story that shows a meaningful connection between you and your target job.