Why self-awareness and personal honesty is critical to career success and happiness

Laura Plant

There are countless resources out there providing job finding tips. They have taught us the do’s and don’ts of resume writing, the importance of customizing our cover letters, how to network and navigate the job boards. These resources help candidates who are on the look-out for their next opportunity take a strategic approach to sourcing and securing a job. They have their place. What they don’t explain is how to go about finding the “right” job or the etiquette of starting a new job.

In this 2-part blog series, I will attempt to do just that. First, here I will cover some tips and strategies for finding a job that doesn’t just meet your financial and geographical criteria, but satisfies your need to feel engaged, passionate and aligned. But our career success doesn’t stop there. Being successful in a role relies not only on your ability and desire to do the job, but also how well you integrate yourself into the organization and you teams. There is unwritten “etiquette” we must follow when we start a new job. Stay tuned for part 2, to delve in to this topic.

Creating your future, which is ongoing, includes figuring out just who you are, learning about your very many options, making some difficult choices, setting some SMART goals, and then, well just going for it. As you have likely experienced, these steps will not unfold in this exact order very often, and in fact may even be repeated over and over again throughout your life. Potentially, your career development is a continuous path of exploration, development, growth and insight. Feeling undecided, unsure and even confused about your future and the various choices before you is completely normal. However, allowing yourself to continue to feel that way is not something I would recommend. To get to where you want to be, you need to know where you want to go.


4 steps to finding the “right” job for you:

1 - Know yourself… 

So, how well do you know yourself and what you want? Not very well? That’s okay, learning this will be an ongoing process throughout your entire life – if you allow it. But you do need to begin somewhere. Much emphasis is placed on understanding your knowledge, skills, ability and interest. These factors dictate your desire and your capability for doing a given job. So, why is it that we can still be miserable in jobs that we are completely capable and even interested in doing? The missing factor, often neglected, is that of personality fit. Your personality style is the most influential factor on your behavioural preferences and tendencies at work and in all other facets of life as well.

Understanding your preferences and tendencies is a critical component of strategic career management, as they impact the type of work you will enjoy, the kinds of people you like to be around, how you define success and what motivates and even turns you off. Each of these factors are important but sometimes difficult to uncover or pinpoint. The better you understand these tendencies and preferences, the more able you will be establish clear career goals and make informed decisions about what you want to do and who you want to be. Once you are self-aware, you can begin to target jobs, industries and organizations that will meet these fundamental needs that your true happiness depends on!

Why should you care? You will spend upwards of 2000 hours at work every year! That is a LOT of time, so why settle? Why compromise? Do all you can to make sure you are in a job that is fulfilling, engaging and aligned with who you really are. There are many ways of learning more about your personality, without having to rely on instinct or perceptions. Psychometric Personality Assessments, provide scientific, accurate, reliable and practical data that has led to many “aha” moments for thousands of individuals. Want to try? Contact ME and we can make that happen.

2 - Be Yourself…What’s the point of knowing yourself if you don’t feel comfortable or are held back from being yourself? While it is critical to be adaptable to your environment, because we can’t always be 100% natural all the time, staying true to your fundamental needs is very important to overall happiness. You must identify what you are willing to compromise vs. what you consider non-negotiable. Oscar Wild once said, with humour yet wisdom, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”. Although this seems obvious, it is actually more difficult than it sounds. Before you can be yourself, you must know, understand and accept yourself.

Accepting and owning your faults, weaknesses and failures is a big part of becoming yourself. Nobody is perfect, and nobody should expect you to be either, especially yourself. Failure is one of the best learning opportunities and trying new things means risking failure. It’s just the way it is, so learn to deal with it. Admitting, to yourself and others, when you have made a mistake or simply don’t know the answer is the only way to learn and grow. Whether you acknowledge your weaknesses or not, everyone still sees them. So rather than conceal them, trying to hide weaknesses actually highlights them, creating the perception of a lack of integrity and self-awareness.

But don’t dwell on your weaknesses or let them discourage you. Focus on your strengths. Instead of putting energy into developing your weaknesses or things you are not good at, spend that time becoming even better at the things you are already good at. It’s a lot more fun and you will find people will start to associate these strengths with you and want to leverage you for them.

3 - Know the role…So often, candidates apply for roles blindly and go into interviews full of nerves and desperation. They don’t stop to think, investigate and reflect on “is this the right role for me?”. One of the first pieces of advice I give a job seeker is to stop applying for tens or hundreds of opportunities daily. Do your research and narrow down your opportunities before you send your resume. Stop blasting it all over the job boards and then sitting back and waiting for a call. I call this targeted job sourcing.

Read up on the company you are applying to, and not just by browsing their website. Websites are a contrived and controlled internally created brand and not the whole picture. Like them on facebook and follow them on twitter. Read up on the company. Connect with their leaders as well as front line employees. Begin the process on integrating yourself (tactfully, do not be abrasive or pushy) before you get hired. Use this strategy as a way of better understanding the company’s true culture. This can be detrimental if you are not careful, so tread lightly at first. When pursuing job opportunities, make sure you are honest about who you are and what you want. After all, an interview is an opportunity for the organization to assess you for skills and fit but it is also an opportunity for you to do the same.

4 - Be Selective…Yes, for most of us having a job is non-negotiable. We need to work in order to live. So, it can be a difficult balance between our need to find a job and the importance of finding the right job. Sometimes, we find ourselves in jobs we don’t love because we need to work - now. If this happens, try with all your might to resist the urge to settle. Always remember, there IS a job out there that you would likely really enjoy. This comes down to fit. Poor fit, or personality conflicts, is the number one reason for job dissatisfaction and failure. Don’t give up on your pursuit to discover that “right job” for you!

To learn more about yourself and take advantage of the DrakeP3 offer, please email me and follow me on Twitter @lauralynplant.

About Laura Plant, Talent Management Consultant.A seasoned Talent Management Consultant, Laura Plant has experience working within a variety of industries, helping organizations improve recruitment, engagement, performance, and retention. With over 15 years of combined education and experience in the field of Human Resources, she has a passion for personality assessments and delivering customized workshops to groups of all sizes.


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