Friday, October 21, 2011

Getting from Good to Great

Do you remember filling out venn diagrams in elementary and middle school?  You drew two or three circles that overlapped partially and then listed the similarities of each item, such as a story character, in the overlapping space.  It might seem unusual, but a venn diagram just might help you find a major or a career now.

I recently attend an informational presentation about an advertising and marketing company.  While the representative from the company went through the standard who we are, what we do, apply for our internship program routine; he also gave those of us attending some advice on finding a career we would love.

The representative referred to the book Good to Great by Jim Collins.  In the book, Collins says there are three questions that you must ask yourself.
1.        What do I love to do?
2.       What is in my DNA?
3.       What will someone pay me to do? 

Now here’s where the venn diagram comes in.  Plug each question into a venn diagram…and answer the questions about yourself.
1.  What do you love to do?  It doesn’t have to be career related necessarily, just think of things you enjoy doing...learn, watch K-State, anything outside if it's warm, design, help others, bake, being crafty, spend time with family

2.  What’s in your DNA?  Or in other words, what comes naturally to you.  Maybe you’re awesome at math or maybe you do not mind speaking in front of a crowd…it can be anything!  creativity, writing, design, detail oriented
3.  What will someone pay you to do?  Here is where actual careers come in.  Think of different jobs that interest you.  advertising, marketing, public relations, journalism
The middle portion of the diagram (outlined in black) is where the similarities from each question come together to give you an idea of potential career matches...creative marketer.  Be as specific as possible here.  For example, do not just say you want to be a nurse, but a pediatric nurse or a surgical nurse instead.
 The recruiter also stressed the importance in remembering that order does matter, so follow the numbers on the venn diagram.  When you are out searching for a job, seek something that will allow you to do what you love (circle 1) and what you are good at (cirlce 2) before focusing on money (circle 3).  Once you find something you are really passionate about and excel in, fortune will follow.  So get out your pen and paper and take your career from good to great!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Be an aspirin.

Sounds like some weird job-hunting advice, right?  I thought so too until I started to think about it more.  With graduation in my near future, I’ve been spending time researching companies that I may want to work for in the future.  As I tried to determine if I was interested in a company or position, I often decided based on a ‘What’s in it for me?’ kind of attitude…How would a company or position benefit me?  What experiences would I gain? 

 In case you’re wondering, that’s not being an aspirin.  Being an aspirin is all about digging deep into a company during your research in order to find out what the company’s pain is.  Find out what challenges or issues is the company facing currently.  Then be an aspirin.  Show the company how you, along with your skills and experiences, can be the solution to that pain.  

Still sound weird?  Think about this.  You don’t take aspirin for fun (at least I hope not), you take it because of some sort of pain.  In other words, you need it to feel better.  In the same way, companies don’t hire employees just for fun.  Companies hire employees because they need them.  As you go through your job search and interviews, be an aspirin and show potential employers why they need you!

Tara Pfaff is the marketing and communications intern at K-State’s Career and Employment Services