Career Resources

The Keys to Career Management Effectiveness: Part I

One of the Career Resource Center’s most popular programs is its half-day Executive Job Search Workshop. Designed to help executives enhance their resumes, as well as enhance networking and interviewing skills, the workshop is offered at select educational programs throughout the year. Before participants can properly develop these skills, however, the workshop teaches them the fundamentals of job searching—the keys to unlocking their career potential. This month’s Career Intelligence Report reviews two effectiveness keys that can help you unlock the potential of a successful job search. Subsequent postings will explore other job search fundamentals to further help you manage your career.

Key #1: Self-Awareness

Career management begins with self-examination. Knowledge about your psychological type supplies information about how you will function in a given environment and gives you the insight you need to convince a potential employer that you are right for the job.

Knowing what you value in your current work life will allow you to narrow your search to certain types of positions. By focusing your efforts, you will make the job search process less overwhelming, and you will target positions for which you would be a qualified candidate and a good fit. Some areas to consider include your need to lead, whether you are more motivated by wealth or by intrinsic rewards, and how strongly you desire recognition. You may benefit from participating in HECRC’s Personality Type Assessment or Benchmarks® Workshop, or you may find that you learn more from personal introspection. Often, it is a combination of formal programs and reflection that will tell you most about yourself.

Once you have firm grasp of what you want and why, the next step is to identify the values that prevail in prospective positions and organizations. Teamwork, loyalty, community service, and life/work balance are just a few of the issues that you should consider. Hopefully, your analysis will reveal a compatible opportunity and you can earnestly pursue the position. Self-awareness is also a great asset in the interview process. Most candidates will think they want the job, but you will have invested time and energy in learning why you want the job. Because you will understand how your needs and values match the job’s requirements and environment, you will be able to distinguish yourself from other candidates.

When you apply the insight you gain through self-reflection, you make yourself a more employable product. Distinguishing yourself from others is not enough by itself to land you the job, but when combined with steps that increase your skills, knowledge, and experience, your position yourself to be more desirable than other candidates in the market. That’s where the big returns can start.

Key #2: Preparation

Recently, one Executive Job Workshop participant asked “Can’t you be over-prepared for an interview?” The question provoked some lively discussion, and ultimately some important resolution. One probably can’t be over-prepared, but it is possible to be over-rehearsed. When interview answers are too smooth and too generic what often comes across is insincerity. However, proper preparation will give you the knowledge and confidence to face questions intelligently, without resorting to pre-scripted answers. This type of preparation is a multi-level, ongoing activity that will equip you for any situation.

Preparation should be part of your standard work life. Even when you are in a job that meets your needs and goals, you should still be working on strategic-level preparation. You can do this by studying the industry, market, and your own organization, staying current with trade literature, and attending monthly healthcare executive networking meetings. When you begin applying for jobs, you should start your tactical-level preparation. This includes research into the prospective company, market, and leadership team. You can learn a lot about a company through annual reports, studies, and the Internet. But probably the best sources for information are your networking contacts.

Once you are well versed in the environment you will be entering, you will begin the logistical phase of preparation. This is the time to take into consideration all of the routine events that can have you playing catch-up before even getting in the door. Prepare for traffic delays and know where you are going to park, know where the interview will take place, and know who you will be meeting with and how to pronounce their names.

It’s easy to skip these steps when you have bigger things to worry about, but a small amount of time preparing can help ensure that everything goes smoothly. Preparing properly will give you the background and ability to enter the interview with confidence. Once the interview begins, just put your best foot forward and enjoy yourself.