Finding Career Purpose
By: Cheryl Lala-Chavez
It may seem like a luxury or a privilege to find career purpose in your life. There are a million things to do in a day, taking time to self-reflect may seem indulgent. However, if you’re questioning your career, feeling unfulfilled, or searching for a job, finding career purpose is what’s needed to move forward in your career.
Why is career purpose important?
For one, self-care is an essential ingredient to a happy life. Self-care includes introspection and fulfillment. Studies show that people can spend up to 1/3 of their lifetime at work. Additionally, having meaningful friendships at work improve health. Seeking career purpose as a form of self-care, provides perspective to build a happier life.
Interviewing with career purpose
When employers start the interview process, they are looking for a candidate who shows passion and motivation for the open role. Most employers have interview questions on a candidate’s work style, competencies, strengths, skills and alignment to the role. They’re looking for a candidate who knows themselves and what they bring to the table at work.
For many of us, interviewing to “land a job” might be the norm but that doesn’t provide enough context to know if you’re truly the right fit for the role. Being the right person for the job should be just as important for you as it is to the employer because it saves you the pain of going through a toxic experience at work. When you are interviewing, you should also be thinking about longevity or retention in that role. Can you see yourself there for the long-term? What will your day to day look like? Is that sustainable for you? Interviewing is more than getting a job offer, it’s an opportunity to truly align purpose in your career.
Why interviews go bad
If you’re like most people, interviews can be scary. Those who master interviewing have career purpose that brings comfort during the interview process. They have taken the time to learn more about themselves and the strengths they bring to the table. If your interviews are going badly and you know these roles are the right fit for you, then you’re probably lacking the following related to your career purpose:
- Knowledge about your strengths and how they relate to your experience in a role
- Objectivity of your skills
- Powerful storytelling
- Personal brand narrative
How to find career purpose
Working with a career coach can bring clarity, objectivity and techniques on how to build your career narrative. When I work with clients, the first few sessions are built around career exploration and strengths assessments. Even if a client thinks they are in the right position, it’s always good to reassess and make sure career purpose is aligning in role.
From there, we’ll embark upon a journey of discovering strengths and competencies in all aspects of life. We’ll utilize assessments and conversations with family and friends to provide context in storytelling. The goal is to give clients powerful stories they can share with others about their effectiveness, impact and experience.
Last, we work on a personal brand narrative, which is career purpose. I like for my clients to come up with a personal branding statement, something they will live by as a mantra for work. This process is always hard for people to do and requires deeper work to outline what your mission is in life related back to your career. With the rise of digital marketing, having a solid personal brand provides a clear narrative on your career purpose while attracting recruiters to you. If you can’t find or afford a career coach, reading books and articles on career, self-development or life purpose can also provide the insights mentioned above.
Putting it all together
If you’re questioning your career at all, now is a great time to dedicate to self-reflection and care. Staying curious and kind is key in defining the narrative that works best for you. This is your unique footprint in the world and taking time to align meaning at work and your career is a necessity not a luxury anymore.