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Conducting a Career Inventory

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You're probably thinking, why a career inventory? When you least expect it, don't be surprised that you'll have to sit down and figure out what you want in your career. I did this when I had nothing to do. Although I created a mental map, wrote in my journal and read a book about decision-making, I finally figured out what I wanted. It doesn't mean you spend countless hours, but it means that, you actually make decisions, create an action plan and actually do what you want. It takes discipline and commitment. Here's what I recommend:

1) Competencies – The word competency is defined as the “ability to do something successfully and efficiently.” This is also, your areas of expertise. What are your best competencies? Review your resume- look at your accomplishments, and when you read them, what provokes you to jump for joy? Take note of that, and embellish those competencies in how you focus your career. Ask yourself, is this my passion or am I missing something? Take it a step further, where did you see yourself when you were in high school? Is that where you are now, or is there a missing link?

2) Education – Common concerns about education are time, money and logistics. My advice, think about each bridge separately. What I mean is, why think about money and logistics when you haven’t even, sent in your application or taken the entrance exam? Think about crossing that bridge when it comes, otherwise step back and realize that the best investment you can make is in yourself. To start off, remember bad debt vs. good debt. Lets put it this way, buying a new car is bad debt, because the minute you drive it off, you’re losing that much money. When you go to school, you gain knowledge, networking contacts and opportunities. You are hired for your capital, your mind, and the value you add- can you really go wrong here?

3) Career Focus – Thinking about the career you have chosen, ask yourself where do you see yourself in five years. Define your gap, and analyze what you require yourself to commit to in a list of action steps to fill this gap. Think about the word focus, it’s not objective, keep yourself open to different opportunities which can take you further to what you want, because, you may surprise yourself.

4) Personality – Known as your personal brand what are you known for and what do people ask you for the most? Do you adequately market these qualities effectively in business meetings, job interviews and through your online image? Why or why not? Talk to people, your references, past colleagues, your friends, and check-in with yourself. Sell you, not just your resume.

5) Skills - Finally makes a list of skills you care about and don't care about - and a list in the middle which are neutral.

Once you have mapped out all five areas - put the pieces together. Not all career paths are defined for you and some are unconventional. Think of your career like a puzzle, it takes time to complete and put i together. It will also come a part and you have to put it back together. There comes a day when you put it together in your sleep. That's the goal, sleep or not, know your career, what you want and be happy with what you have created, not what someone creates for you.

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