Do You Know Where You're Going?

Why is it so important to know where you’re going before you even start all of the resume writing and interviewing processes?

For most people, unless you know where you’re going and how to get there, you’re going to be pretty aimless. If I were to say to you, “Let’s get in the car and go somewhere.”

“Where are we going to go?”

“I don’t know. Let’s just go somewhere!”

You could end up anywhere, even somewhere you wouldn’t want to go. That’s true in job hunting as well. How do you know that you’ve found the right position for you if you’ve never mapped out what would be the right one for you?

It’s different to say “let’s go somewhere” versus “let’s drive to Fenway Park in Boston.” You know what the target is when you name your destination as Fenway Park.

Instead, most people get out there to job hunt and start thrashing about and randomly attack a job search, instead of laying the foundation for where we need to go and developing a plan for how to get there.

It’s a little like a lesson a friend of mine who was a martial arts instructor received from his sensei. One day his Sensei came to him and said, “I want you to focus on this discipline, Dennis. You must master this.”

“But Sensei, I want to learn something else.”

His Sensei said to him, “If you see a dog chasing two rabbits, how many will he catch? If the dog chases one rabbit, he can catch that rabbit.” Well, that’s the way it is with job hunting, too. You need to make a focused plan, putting a solid destination in your sights.

I want to get you focused on what’s going to be most important to you when you work in your next job or organization. Where do you want to get to a few years from now on the path? Where do you want to get to professionally? Figure out what destination you want to get to in a few years, and what steps you need to take today to plan for that.

From where you are right now, is there a step or two you can take to improve your skills or training? Will improving and expanding your skill set, or receiving mentoring from someone, allow you to optimize your marketability today and allow you to profit? You have to answer those questions before you start creating your resume.

Let’s say you have three to five options you might take towards different careers. To be successful, you have to hone in on one of them. Put your energy into that one and decide if this is the one.

To figure out where you want to go professionally, you have to map it out as a plan. One way to do this is to talk with others who have already gotten there. You may have a mentor that you’ve worked with for a number of years and with whom you get together with regularly, who can help point you down the road towards your objectives.

And if you can’t narrow your choice to one direction, prune it as tightly as you can and then explore the different options with people who are already doing what you want to be doing to get a real-world perspective on it.

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020 

ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER

JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter
JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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