Landing your dream job requires a clear and focused road map. Whether your dream job is sitting on the C-suite of a major firm to heading up your own industry-disrupting start-up to somewhere in between, seasoned Career and Executive Master Certified Coach and HEC EMBA presenter Marc Beretta preaches a simple career strategy: bringing clarity and become laser-focused on your career aspirations. Even better? It’s as easy as sitting down and counting 1, 2, 3: Foundations, Past, and Future.
Define who you are. First, you’ll need to identify your key values, drivers, and breaks; figure this out by reflecting on others, and then on yourself. What qualities do you appreciate about other people, and which ones send you running for the hills?
The next step is for you to think back to when you were young. What did you want to be when you grew up? Much can be revealed about who you really are when you think back to a time in life when there was zero social pressure to affect your decision making. Be honest with yourself, and especially with your younger self; if you wanted to be an astronaut or a circus performer or a zookeeper (or a dentist), write that down. Does this still make sense to you today?
This’ll ensure our professional choices are aligned with who we are, so whenever we are presented with new opportunities, we can keep this in mind.
Now we want to highlight our key competencies. Be sure to include dates, company and position, tasks, achievements, competencies developed, and likes and dislikes of the job. This will serve as a database for past experiences and put transferable skills on paper — which also makes it easier to design your CV. By clearly describing experiences, you put them into your active memory reserve, which is essential to recalling them successfully during interviews.
It’s helpful to remember that HR looks at your culture fit and potential, while operational people look at your skills.
Here, you validate your Career Plan in a couple of simple steps. First, look at a few job offers and pick out any keywords that jump out at you. These can be3 location, tasks, or company name are good examples of these. Put those key words down on a grid to fit into the following columns: Position/Company/Sector/Other.
Pare down your list so you have 3 options for a straightforward Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C, and set your own deadlines for these. Focus all your energy on Plan A, and only if it doesn’t work out will you move on to Plans B and C.
It helps to find people who are doing that job right now. Network with between 3 and 5 of them if you can. Get their feedback on whether they think you have what it takes to do the job, and then ask them validate your plan. When reaching out, get them to share their experiences and make sure to ask lots of key questions, presenting yourself and asking them what they think your strengths and weaknesses would be in that position.
Finish with “Do you know people that can help me in this quest?” Get them to open up their networks for you. Whatever you do, Beretta says, it’s important to remember the wise words of Oscar Wilde: “be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Students at the HEC Paris Executive MBA receive exclusive training on how to leverage themselves in any market scenario. This was a snapshot of what’s on offer at our Personal Professional Development (PPD) workshops, a key sub-feature of the Executive MBA curriculum. Click here to learn more.
Marc Beretta is a Professor of Leadership and Personal Development at HEC since 2009. His Executive, Team, and Organizational Coaching firm is present in 10 countries, and he is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation, the international final word when it comes to the discipline of coaching. The Franco-Irish Professor Beretta accompanies managers and boards on problems associated with changes across different continents. He has participated in the collective work of memorable negotiations in history, and has written a chapter on the peace agreements of Northern Ireland (2004-2014). He promotes efficiency and well-being at work.