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3 Secrets to Career Success (part 2) - Clarity

by James Callander October 25, 2011

In the second part of our series on the 3 secrets to career success - our guest blogger and careers consultant Phil Bolton from Less Ordinary Living talks about Clarity.

Secret 1 - Clarity

What makes great candidates stand out from the crowd and get hired? Clarity.

Clarity means two things:

1. Knowing why the job is the right fit for you

2. Knowing why you are the ideal candidate for the job

1. Knowing why the job is the right fit for you

If you’ve ever interviewed for a job you are not sure you really want, you know how hard it is to give your best performance.

When you develop clarity on what you want, it is easy to convince yourself and employers that you are the right candidate.

The following exercise will help you get clear on what you are looking for from your next role:

How to develop criteria for your ideal role

Let’s get focused on the fundamentals and the value added criteria for your ideal job. Answer these questions as specifically as you can:

Step1: The Fundamentals:

Salary – what is your ideal salary and the minimum you would accept?

Benefits – which benefits are essential and which are nice to have?

Hours – what is the average number of hours you’d like to work and the maximum you’ll bear?

Flexibility – how important is it to have flexibility of workplace and hours? How important is it to have the option to work from home or have a reduced work schedule?

Travel – what percentage of your time would you like to travel?

Commute – what length of commute would you like and what is the maximum commute length for your job?

Step 2: Value added criteria

What is your ideal workplace culture?

To answer this question, think about size of the organisation, the type of hierarchy (flat, pyramid etc.), the type of people you work with, the size of teams, the way the organisation communicates, the work rhythm (single project based, multiple projects, monthly tasks etc.).

What are the key things you are looking for from your ideal job?

To answer this, think about recognition, doing meaningful work / making a difference to others, promotion opportunities, the ability to grow and develop new skills, financial rewards, excitement, travel, new experiences, learning from great people, developing expertise etc.

What things are non-negotiable for your next role?

What things are nice-to-haves for your next role?

Answering these questions will allow you to assess every opportunity with laser focus. You can identify the roles that fit you well and clearly express why.

You’ll be able to convince your interviewer that you want the job. That focus and clarity will make you stand out.

2. Knowing why you are the ideal candidate

Now you are clear on why the job is the right one for you, you need to demonstrate why you are the perfect candidate for the job.

You’ll need to develop a compelling career story to show this. Follow these three steps to develop your career story.

Step 1: Understand what the employer is looking for

Review the job description and list the experience, skills and aptitudes required to be successful in the role.

Think more broadly about the role and based on your experience, and add any other skills, strengths and experience you believe will be needed to excel in the job.

If you have time, ask other people (including your FreshMinds consultant) what skills they believe are needed to perform this role. Ideally find someone in a similar industry and role to provide insight


Step 2: Map out your experience and skills

Review your professional and educational experiences

• For each skill needed to perform the role, identify the experience you have that demonstrates this skill.

• For the experience required, think about how to describe your experience to mirror what is required.

If you are making a significant career change, or moving industry you may not have all the technical skills and experiences needed. Focus on your transferable skills during this process.

Don’t worry if you cannot match every criteria – it is very rare that any candidate can meet the criteria for most jobs.

Now you have the raw materials for your career story

Step 3: Create your career story

Now you need to create the career story that shows your inevitable journey to whatever job it is you are applying for. Use the experiences you’ve identified as the building blocks for this story.

The career story should articulate your journey to becoming the ideal candidate in less than 5 minutes.

Play around with crafting your story, practice telling it in front of the mirror and to anyone who will listen.

Once you feel comfortable telling your story and really believe it, you are ready. You can clearly answer the question “what makes you the ideal candidate for this job?’.

Now you have clarity

Congratulations, you have developed a new sense of clarity around your ideal role and what makes you the ideal candidate.

You should feel laser focused and ready to get out there and land that job.

Next week, we’ll cover the second C – Confidence.

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