Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Staying Focused

If you have been lucky enough to see any of the Olympic coverage this week you have had the opportunity to watch some remarkable athletes pursuing their passion. One thing they all have in common is focus. You hear this word again and again from the commentators, coaches, and the athletes. The focus on making their country's team, participating at the highest level, and hopefully winning a medal has given direction to their lives. To help them attain their dream they have connected with the right people to help them - coaches, trainers, choreographers, and sports psychologists.

In your job or internship you also need to be focused, directed, and connected. Focus means knowing what you want. What is your preference for functional area? For example, is it marketing, finance, or operations and not simply "business"? Can you name the industry or industries you are targeting and within each the top three to five organizations for whom you want to work? What are the job titles specific to your function, industry, and company?

Armed with this knowledge you now have a razor sharp focus on your goal. Knowing your goal will give direction to your search and allow you to make the connections with people who can help you. Consider the difference between an individual who says I am looking for a full-time job in finance compared to an individual who says I am looking for a job as a credit analyst in the financial services industry, specifically banking. My goal is to stay in the southeastern United States and my top three organizations are Wells Fargo, SunTrust, and Bank of America. Which individual will get connected sooner?

If you are feeling more like the first individual than the second, we suggest the following:

  • Connect with your career coach
  • Review your marketing plan and make any necessary adjustments
  • Complete a "Desired States" goal sheet (your coach can help you with this)
  • Utilize online resources like WIN, CareerShift and LinkedIn to build your contact base
  • Conduct research on your targeted position, industry, and company to make sure that you are a good fit

Becoming focused, directed, and connected will help you achieve your best career search performance ever.

~Beth Burdick, Career Management Center

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