Your University Name    the Competitive Edge

by Susan Whitcomb

Overview/What You Will Learn

Having so many career options as an MBA can be an asset as well as a detriment in your job search. It can make it difficult to narrow your focus to a particular position or field.  MBA Career Strategist Susan Whitcomb presents a step-by-step strategy in her 3-part series for assessing your unique strengths and determining your career direction. Here, in Part 1, she focuses on matching what employers seek with your own skills and interests; or, as she explains it, finding the right “FIT.”

Key Points

  • Employers want you to manage your career the way you would run a business.  They look for candidates who have clear goals, a defined strategy and who know their product – the product being you.
  • Employers are looking for the right fit for their organization, and so should you.
  • “FIT” has two components or perspectives. The first is the “External FIT” -- what the employer seeks. 
    • “F” is for Focus.  Prospective employers want to know what position and what industry you seek.
    • “I” is for Identity. Employers want to know that their ideal candidate matches what you can offer.
    • “T” represents Treasure, or your value proposition. How can you help contribute to the employer’s bottom line?  
  • Understand the connection between interests and abilities.  If you’re interested, you’ll be much more engaged and fulfilled in your work. And, if interested enough, you can persevere to overcome an ability deficit.
  • Examine these clues to help you identify your focus:
    • Your initial motivation for attending business school;
    • The classes/subjects you gravitate toward;
    • Past work successes (Your “CAR” stories – Challenge…Action…Result)
    • Your fascinations (what you enjoy reading, websites you frequent, activities you engage in that cause you to lose track of time);
    • People you admire, enjoy or envy;
    • Encouragement from people close to you;
    • Emotional connection you share with people through professional associations, clubs or previous work experiences;
    • Job postings that excite you;
    • Assessment feedback. Options include: Career Leader - through your university career center, Strengths Finder – book and assessment tool by Tom Rath, 360 Reach, and Values.

Your Next Steps / Tips for Success

  • List 2-3 top-of-mind position and industry options.
  • Review assessment results to help focus your search strategy. 
  • Proceed to Part 2 of Assess Your Assets…Determine Your Direction to Jumpstart Your Job Search!