One of the most crucial yet overlooked aspects of job searching comes from a strong sense of career clarity. In this article, we’ll cover why clarity is so important, why it’s often overlooked, and three questions to jumpstart career clarity. You can read along or watch the video below instead.
Career Clarity: The Most Crucial Yet Overlooked Aspect of Job Searching
A lack of career clarity leaves you directionless
I want you to imagine that your entire career is displayed on Google maps. You can see exactly where you are right now, but you might not know the specific location where you’re headed. If that’s the case, you’re not going to be moving in any clear direction, right? At some point, you might realize that you’re far away from the actual place that you want to go. Not knowing which type of title, industry, or company you want to join will leave you stagnant and confused in terms of having a long term and fulfilling career.
PRO-TIP: Career clarity gives you clear direction, an end goal, + streamlines the job search process
Get very specific on what you really want to do and what you’re orienting yourself towards. You can start by creating your narrative which then you could put in your LinkedIn profile. Unlike your resume which you can have several versions to tweak according to a specific job, only one LinkedIn profile can be associated with you. It’s better to show your interest clearly in your profile for the HR professionals to see. Hiring somebody who has just dabbled or gotten their feet wet, and then realizes that it’s not what they want to do after all ends up being too costly for companies. They spend thousands of dollars to replace and retrain, and just to go through the entire process again. Being dedicated to one thing will make the entire job search easier for both you and the company. Not only that but, it’ll be much easier to know what to say, and to know who to associate yourselves with. Clarity paves the way to a clear direction towards your dream career without you having to make dozens of resumes, elevator pitches, and narratives.
I have a student in my program, The Happily Hired Formula, who recently told me she didn’t know what she wanted to do before joining the program. She was initially interested in becoming an account executive, an event manager, or a project manager. And while she was capable of excelling in all of these three roles, she wasn’t sure which one she’d like the most, if any. Then during an interview, she was asked what she would want to do if the company could open any role for her… and was unable to come up with an answer. That question made her realize that she didn’t actually know what she wanted to do. Telling a company that you’re willing to do any job or fit into any open position is not an option, because companies want skilled and specialized employees. They want to know how are you aligning your skills, experience, and knowledge, to be the best in this particular role that you’re looking to fill. This is part of why career clarity is one of the most crucial aspects of the job search process – employers expect you to have a crystal-clear understanding of your goals!
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Why do so many people struggle to get career clarity?
We now understand why career clarity is so vital to your job search success, but let’s talk about what prevents people from getting clarity.
Clarity Blocker #1: Analysis Paralysis
There are so many options out there that could be both daunting and overwhelming to commit to. I’ve discussed three mindset blocks that hold us back from doing what we want in a previous article. It digs a little bit deeper into fear and scarcity as the main reason and emphasizes how to think logically and overcome the fear of making a career transition or switch.
Clarity Blocker #2: Distraction
In this day and age, we are all filled with distractions. Very few of us actually create a quiet time and space to sit down and reflect on what it is that we truly want. I believe that we all have answers to our hesitations, but we need to focus and reflect on ourselves to be able to realize that. And the best way to do that is just by being silent and sitting still while thinking through what’s important to you.
3 career clarity questions to start with
I want to share three simple questions to get you on the right path of figuring out what a fulfilling and meaningful career would look like for you. I highly recommend setting aside some time to journal your responses to these questions in a quiet place where you can think clearly and thoughtfully.
Question #1: What would you do if you couldn’t fail or didn’t need any money?
The first question I want you to ask yourself takes us back to fear and scarcity. Most of us know what we want deep inside and have probably already fantasized about it. We have an inkling of what we’re interested in, but there may be a lot of fear around making that shift or that move. For now, I encourage you to just dream BIG! Write down your dreams because I truly believe that we can achieve whatever we want to obtain. Every career pivot is possible so long as you’re willing to put in the work and address some limiting beliefs and fears that are holding you back from taking the action that you need to make that possible.
Question #2: What’s your zone of genius?
Your zone of genius may be described as that flow state, where you were enjoying something so much that you completely lost track of time. Have you ever had that feeling where you’re just in the zone that you just completely block out everything else around you? This is when you feel so much joy and satisfaction in what you’re doing. Your zone of genius is in between what you’re good at and what you truly enjoy doing.
To give a personal example, one of my strengths is sales. I’m good at sales, but I don’t necessarily enjoy doing sales, which means it doesn’t fall into my zone of genius. Another thing that I really enjoy is water coloring, but I’m not good at it by any means – so water coloring doesn’t fall into my zone of genius either. However, coaching is something I am good at AND genuinely love doing. When you can identify the intersection of your strengths and your interests, this is where a lot of career satisfaction comes from. You want to feel competent while doing your job as well as genuinely enjoy it.
Take a moment and brainstorm the various positions that you’ve held. Think about all your previous volunteer work, school internships, projects, full-time jobs, or leadership roles. What did you love, genuinely enjoy, and really immerse yourself in? Start taking note of those specific skills, roles, or tasks to guide you into what you want more of in this next career pivot.
Question #3: What is the impact you want to make? Who do you want to help?
Finally, ask yourself what impact you want to make and who you want to serve. What do you want to help them with? When you can drill in on the impact that you want to make, you can start to think more clearly about what a purposeful career would look like for you. And let me tell you, whenever you’re living a purposeful career, you’re going to have a purposeful life. Your everyday life will feel so much more meaningful. You’ll be able to push past those difficult moments in your career because you know that you’re connected to a larger purpose.
To gain career clarity, leave judgement behind!
As you work through these three key questions, try your best to journal them out without judging yourself. Self-judgement typically comes from a place of fear, scarcity, and shame – all things you want to avoid when pursuing a fulfilling life! Just share boldly, and dream big. Don’t forget that you were put on this planet for a very special reason. If you think about it, it’s crazy that your chances of being on this planet are just one in 400 trillion. Nobody else on this earth has the exact same background, skills, experience, knowledge, talents, or interests as you. I truly believe that if you have a destination you’re putting into your career GPS, you can absolutely get there!