The Four Pillars of Career Fit

Have you wondered why sometimes you enjoyed one job, while dreading another? When we enjoy our work, it doesn’t feel like work and the hours seem to fly by. Other times, an 8-hour work day can feel like twelve.

I’ve spoken with hundreds of job-seekers over the years and have heard many tales of woe. Despite the varying details, there were four common themes:

  1. The job didn’t align to the person’s natural abilities or strengths – how a person wants to work.
  2. The job, manager, or workplace culture violated their values – the why behind their work, or what’s most important to them.
  3. The job didn’t align to their preferred skills – what they enjoy most and do best.
  4. The job didn’t fit their interests – who they are relative to personality and preferences.

Step 3 of Crossroads Career’s 7-Step Action Plan, Aptitude, helps you look inward. This critical step equips you to understand who God created you to be. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)

You were created with a purpose and, because you have a purpose, God has endowed you with gifts to add value to those around you.

Our greatest challenge is we lack objectivity about what we do best that others need most. A few challenges prevent us from understanding who God created us to be:

  1. We often don’t take time to reflect and look inward in our busy lives.
  2. We’re too close to ourselves to evaluate our own gifts objectively.
  3. We tend to underestimate or undervalue our talents.

The bottom line: It’s hard to read the label when you’re inside the jar.

Knowing your Four Pillars of Career Fit has numerous benefits:

  • Understand where a breakdown is occurring in your job satisfaction.
  • Identify best fit career choices.
  • Connect what you do best to roles you’re pursuing.
  • Select the best stories and accomplishments to highlight on your resume, LinkedIn profile, and in job interviews.
  • Explain why you’re a strong fit for a role.
  • Convey confidence in your unique contribution.
  • Make better decisions when deciding to accept an offer.
  • Avoid jumping from the pan to the fire when making a career move.

When you know your Four Pillars of Career Fit, you gain clarity on why you’re in a poor fit so you can take appropriate steps.

Ellie loved her manager and, to a large extent, her work. Still, something was missing. When we dug into the heart of the matter, she felt under-utilized.

Ellie had a rare situation where all of her values were honored by her manager and workplace culture. If Ellie lacked a clear sense of which of the four pillars needed tweaking, she might have quit her job and landed in a role with a manager or culture that violated her values.

A role can perfectly match our talent and skills. However, if our values are violated, that’s a deal breaker.

In Ellie’s situation, a job search was not the next best step. Instead, Ellie listed skills she enjoyed and scheduled a conversation with her manager to discuss opportunities to help the team. Her approach was a success and Ellie was offered a chance to help with strategic planning.

At this point, you might be asking, “How do I determine my Four Pillars of Career Fit?”

YouMap will help you identify The Four Pillars of Career Fit to land or create a job you’ll love. The book is available on Amazon worldwide at http://bit.ly/YouMapBook and is available in e-book, paperback, audiobook, and hardcover formats.

If resources are tight, follow these alternative steps:

My Best Self Exercise

Choose five to ten people who know you well. Send a message saying, “I’m seeking feedback on my strengths. Would you send me a brief story about a time when you observed my ability to do something well, naturally? Describe the situation and the difference I made.”

After receiving the stories, highlight key words and phrases. What themes keep appearing?

 Ideal Day Exercise

Reflect on your work history and list everything you enjoyed. If you’ve never formally worked, consider internships, volunteer work, and experiences in an academic setting or your personal life. Think about experiences you had, people you impacted and accomplishments you were proud of. Even if you disliked a role, there was probably one thing you liked.

List everything you enjoyed from your experiences. Then look for the themes in the list. For example:

  • I liked to organize and set up processes to make it what I wanted
  • I enjoyed working with design engineers to visualize a better product
  • I liked thinking outside the box to come up with solutions
  • I liked when my solutions impacted the entire organization
  • I enjoyed working with the best of the best

Create a Keyword List

Select words and phrases from the “My Best Self” and “Ideal Day” exercises and conduct keyword searches on job boards using 3-4 words from your list at a time.

Deal Makers and Deal Breakers List

Complete a list of “must haves” and “must not haves” to make better decisions based on your values.

The Bible reminds us we are fearfully and wonderfully made! Explore how you want to work (strengths), why you want to work (values), what you want to spend your time doing (skills), and learning who you are and the type of work that interests you (personality) to fulfill God’s plan in and through you.

Hear more about this topic from Kristin Sherry on this week’s episode of The Crossroads Career Podcast.

This post was written by Kristin Sherry.  Kristin is a member of the Crossroads Career Board of Directors.  She is the best selling author of YouMap & Your Team Loves Mondays…Right? She joined our board in 2019 and lives with her husband and 4 kids in North Carolina.

The rest of March’s blog series will include other assessments and approaches that you can leverage to better know yourself and your aptitudes. Come back next week to find out more!

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