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Career question: Do you know where you’re going?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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By Betsy Hosick

I am asked to provide career advice to many individuals and one of the most frequently asked questions is, "How do I decide what positions to apply for?”

That is a loaded question and can’t be answered directly. The first step is to determine where you are trying to go with your career.

Do you want to be a single contributor and subject-matter expert, or does your passion lie in having a leadership role? Do you like sales and influence or would you rather be behind the scenes in helping to make decisions based on strong analytical thinking?

Many times, I hear folks say, "I will just do whatever the company thinks I can to contribute.” I say "Stop!” You need to take control of your career path and first determine where your passion lies and what makes you excited about going to work so that you can develop a plan for how to get there.

Once you know where you want to go, you can choose the positions that will help you get the work experience and needed skills and exposure to help you along the way. Don’t simply think the next position. Ask how this position will help you in future roles.

I ask three simple questions about any job I apply for:

1. Will I be able to contribute? This means can I use the skills and experiences I have had to be able to do the job. How big of a stretch will the job be? While each new role should stretch your abilities, it is important to understand what you bring to the table. This honest look at your own skills will help your confidence in starting a new role.

2. Will I learn something? Taking a been-there, done-that position will help your organization, but won’t teach you much. Be careful not to take a position that offers no development for you. You could become bored and complacent if a position is too easy and has no stretch.

3. Will I have fun? Fun? Yes, knowing that you will wake up every morning with the desire to go to work should always be a consideration for any job choice. If you hate numbers, don’t apply for an analyst position, since you will work with numbers all day! Matching your skill set to the job will make you more motivated and increase your chances for success.

Remember, your job is part of your life, it is not your life. You do have choices to make, for yourself first, then your family. To be the best person in the right role for your organization means bringing your best to the job! Asking these three simple questions will help you to get a head start on what should be an exciting career.

Betsy Hosick is vice chair of the Network of Executive Women and general manager, procurement - downstream, technology and services, for Chevron Corporation. Her 30-plus-year career in the convenience and petroleum industry has human resources, field operations, marketing, merchandising, distribution and procurement and supply chain management. She has received numerous awards, including Chevron’s coveted Chairman’s Award recognizing her as "Better than the Best.” She has also received industry awards recognizing her as an innovative leader in category management.

Views expressed in signed blogs and user comments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Network of Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and sponsors. 

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