When I started this assignment, I really thought that I had what it took to slide relatively easily into the job market. Even though I knew, on an objective level, that we are in a recession and that it will be difficult to market myself without strong connections, I figured that my results in my classes and my existing experience would help me land on my feet in a successful position.
While I feel that my CV is one of the stronger parts of my application package that I would be sending to a potential employer, I also realize that it shows some of the weaker aspects of my personality to third-party readers. While I definitely believe in my own abilities, as far as finding a successful job, I did a poor job of projecting that confidence through my writing about myself, and the parts of my assessment that are related to personality echoed that same result – I need to do a better job of exuding confidence – if I do not, then people are simply not going to hire me. After all, why would you hire someone to work for you, if they do not give you the sense that they have the ability to do an excellent job for you? My writing is too timid in my CV, and my answers to the personality assessments suggested that as well. The best thing I can do is increase my own sense of ability, and project that effectively to others.
With regard to my personal skills profiles, I agreed with my ability to structure and write essays effectively. This gives me an advantage over many of those with whom I will be competing for positions, because writing comes at such a premium in the current job market. It is true that technological abilities are also important, but the fact remains that if one cannot effectively communicate with one’s writing, then one will have a much lower success rate in the higher professions.
I also agreed with the assessment that I had solid oral communication abilities and could present my ideas clearly. This obviously contradicts, to some degree, the personality assessment result that showed that I exuded a general lack of confidence, but many times these assessments overlap one another. The bottom line is that I need to improve my ability to express my own confidence; however, I did take comfort from the fact that the assessment rated me highly on personal communication abilities.
I was somewhat surprised by the result from the skills assessment that said I could work effectively in a team. This has been one of my greatest areas of challenge, as I have long disliked the dynamics of working in team environments, preferring instead to complete my own work and have it evaluated on its own merits. At least in an academic environment, I have found that people who work in groups tend to be less diligent than those working individually. Oftentimes, only one or two of the people in a group end up doing all of the work for everyone else, and then end up having to share the credit all around, when that is not an accurate depiction of the case. I did answer the questions about how to work in a group, though, and perhaps that assessment was based on my knowledge of how a group should ideally function.
I took real issue with the finding that I needed to develop my ability to analyze information as well as complex tasks in order to complete them effectively. I believe that I have a solid foundation in analysis, and the outcomes I have received in academic and professional work have borne that out. However, I recognize that my antipathy toward working in a group environment may have skewed the interpretation of my answers.
I do agree that I have a gap in some of the computer applications and ancillary information technology tools that I will need in order to succeed in some of the major professions. While I am familiar with the tools in Microsoft Office, for example, I lack proficiency with some of the more complex features of Excel and Access, two applications that I will need to know more thoroughly in order to excel in a professional environment. I will continue to work with those applications in order to bring my proficiency in line with where it needs to be.
I was pleased to see that my own opinions about my ability to organize myself and my career matched what I thought about my own aptitudes. I do find myself organized, and it is something that I have worked long and hard at. As far as being career-minded, I have had some sort of career goal as long as I can remember, and one of the best gifts that my parents passed along to me is the ability to turn lofty goals into detailed action plans, so that I do not end up missing out on the chance to accomplish my dreams.
In addition to the assessments that I have already addressed, I would like to spend some significant time addressing the outcomes from my Personal Premium Report Personality Profile. Because this profile is based on self-reporting answers that I gave to a series of questions, it is difficult to argue much with the outcomes. This was quite an eye-opening experience, because I saw myself differently than this profile reported. I took this to mean that, frequently, people whom I am meeting for the first time may be interpreting me quite differently than I view myself – this was definitely food for thought as I was reflecting on the outcomes of these assessments and preparing to write this essay.
In the area of “Extravert,” I would have to say that I agreed with the overall findings. I have never been much of a “people” person. While I do have a small group of solid friends, I have never been one who made friends easily. Here is a story that will serve to illustrate this tendency. A few months ago, a friend of mine invited me to a reception celebrating the kickoff leading up to a charity luncheon. The reception was at a local upscale bar, which was featuring free drinks as part of getting people to attend the charity function. I showed up about 30 minutes after the reception had begun, thinking that being “fashionably” late would be the way to go. I had a good supply of business cards in my card holder, thinking that this would be a good setting for introducing myself – placing myself into the job market. However, when I arrived, the music was blaring so loudly I could barely hear myself think. I made my way to the bar through the din and got a drink, and then went around looking for my friend. Because she worked for the agency who was the beneficiary, she only had a few seconds to talk, as she was managing this event. Because everything was so loud, and because I did not know anyone at the event, I had a couple of drinks and left – without giving anyone a business card at all. While it would have been difficult to make many quality contacts, I could have been much more social than I was.
In the “Open” category, though, I was surprised that I did not score much closer to the higher side of the board. I have always considered myself a down to earth individual, and so it really surprised me that I only had a 5 – a fairly neutral score. I also feel that I enjoy complex ideas and theories: one of my hobbies is working on mosaics on the weekends – not as a side line of work, but as an interest. That requires complex design and preparation to turn out well, and I was surprised that I scored as someone who likes the simple.
In the “Agreeable” category, I was also surprised that I did not score higher. I spend a good deal of my leisure time volunteering at a nursing home, and so I was surprised that I had scored so close to the middle on the “Self-Interested” scale. Also, I have long prided myself on my concern for the problems of others. Clearly, this is an area in which I need to do some soul-searching – because I am either completely wrong about myself, or I am doing a lousy job of communicating these ideas to the world around me.
I did agree with the “Conscientious” section’s findings. While I am generally organized, when it comes to follow-through, I can be very hazy. I am great at organizing elaborate plans for myself, but then when things happen to my schedule, I find myself coming with reasons not to bring them to fruition – it is very easy for me to make excuses for myself, which is not how things should be. I also do prefer some independence when it comes to figuring out how to carry out a specific task. As a result, I can get frustrated when an autocratic teacher or supervisor has one way in mind to complete something and insists that I use that one way.
As far as the “Resilient” section goes, I really thought of myself as more positive, in general, than that section would indicate. I don’t think I am easily irritable, and I don’t consider myself a pessimist. However, my own answers cannot lie; I need to come up with ways to address my own state of mind so that I can do a better job of working with others.
With regard to the “Social Desirability” index, I did agree with that outcome. Social impressions are somewhat important, but they are not the end of the world. I do believe in the importance of making a solid first impression, but I believe that the work one ends up producing is just as important, if not more so.
I do believe that I have the skills employers want, in the area of problem solving and analysis. I believe that I could go to work for a management consulting group and contribute to the success of that group from the beginning. Ultimately, I believe that this is the field toward which I will tailor my career search. While my degree plan does give me some other options, I believe that management consulting would allow me to use my skills effectively – and would reward my interests.
The first thing I need to develop, as far as job hunting goes, is to revamp my CV and opening letter. The language in my letter sounds like I do not really think that I can do the job; instead, I come across like someone who is desperate to have someone hire me. I do talk a little bit about my accomplishments, but only in vague terms. I know that, on an effective CV, I need to be as specific and as quantitative as possible when detailing my accomplishments. I need to spend less time focusing on my accomplishments in the academic sphere (particularly those that do not lend themselves towards management consulting, such as timing and scheduling social events) and focus on ways I have built my skills for management consulting. I also need to take out some of the unnecessary verbiage in the letter; I need to bring it down to 1-1/2 pages, instead of running to three. Very few prospective employers will even take the time to read a CV letter of that considerable scope.
I also need to look at the way that people interpret me in an interview setting. Based on my personality assessments, I come across as much more introverted and closed off from people than I consider myself to be. I have a couple of choices in this area – I can either discount the input I have received from my assessments and just soldier on as I am, or I can take the opportunity learn something from my feedback and improve. I plan to meet with an interview coach and talk about ways to be more positive in these situations and exude the sort of energy and confidence that management consulting firms are looking for in the people whom they hire.
I have spent a considerable amount of time polishing my CV, and I feel that it focuses on my accomplishments in a clear, concise way. The benefit of this, obviously, is that it will put my achievements in front of hiring managers as quickly as possible. I only have about 20 or 30 seconds to make an impression; after that, my resume will be headed to the recycling bin. I need to hit hard with a clear objective and then follow up with some relevant bullet points about my competencies and level of experience. If I tailor this section to match the needs of the positions for which I am applying, I should have a much better success rate at garnering interviews.
I have learned that I have much farther to go, in terms of achieving success in an interview, than I thought I did when I started this class. This is actually a good thing, though, because I would much rather learn this in a class than go through a dozen interviews and never get called back – and not have any idea why. Knowing what I need to improve will help prepare me for the job market.
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