Ask The Right Questions.
A lot of people go around saying that a job is all about the paycheck. And while working without a paycheck is not financially feasible and in no way what I am suggesting, we spend around 13 years and two months of our lives working (assuming the corporate linear, 40 hours a week path). With that in mind, I think it is crucial that you understand what you love and how to actively pursue it.
What to ask yourself:
What are you passionate about? (Doesn’t have to be related to your current career path, just in general.)
What actively pushes you keep going each and every day? (Don’t say your kids, your dog, your mom. Think of yourself for this one. You wake up every day and do stuff — but what of that brings you joy/and you look forward to is key.)
What tasks could you spend hours doing and notice the time flying by?
What keeps you up at night? (Besides debt.)
How do you like to work? (Describe your ideal workflow, identify what aspects of it are not up for compromise.)
What are you interested in? (Besides your designated career.)
Who is doing things that inspire you? (Who do you look up to and why does it inspire you?)
What do you want to get out of it? (“It” being the job you are pursuing.)
What to ask yourself to achieve deliverables (resume, portfolio, cover letter)
What tells your creative story? (Mainly targeted to those in design fields, but applicable to all.)
How do you tell your story creatively? (Everyone has a story. We hear stories all the time. The ones that stand out are the ones that are creatively shared.)
People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel. — Maya Angelou
So you got the interview and things are looking up. Congratulations! But remember the paycheck is not the focus — its your life. So these are some questions to ask your potential employer to make sure your time and effort will be well spent:
What to ask your potential employer:
How can it help you grow into a role you’d like in the future? (Not all jobs are the finishing line. Sometimes we have to take jobs that are stepping stones to our envisioned success.)
How does it use your skills and passions? (Does this job teach you or celebrate you? What do you want out of the experience? Does it maximize your potential?)
What are the opportunities for advancement of growth? (You ain’t got time to be stuck!)
How can I have the biggest impact in this role? (Make sure you have clarity on what you contribute to your position and if it fulfills “what keeps you up at night”.)
What I will I need for support? (Mentors are everywhere. Analyze your goals and find out if this new job allows you to meet key figures that will not only teach you but help you move forward.)
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR YOUR CAREER IS TO BUILD & USE YOUR NETWORK
This is the most crucial aspect of your career. Who you interact with, how you interact with and the value you bring to these interactions will ultimately make or break your career.
Thank you for reading! This article was inspired on a zoom presentation during a Professional Practice Class from University of Colorado, Denver, on Fall 2020.