To Get The Best Job Fit, Know Your Strengths, with Mary Blalock

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Find Your Dream Job, Episode 141:

To Get the Best Job Fit, Know Your Strengths, with Mary Blalock

Airdate: May 30, 2018

Mac Prichard:

Hi, this is Mac of Mac’s List. Find Your Dream Job is presented by Mac’s List, an online community where you can find free resources for your job search, plus online courses and books that help you advance your career. My latest book is called Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. It’s a reference guide for your career that covers all aspects of the job search, including expert advice in every chapter. You can get the first chapter for free by visiting macslist.org/anywhere.

This is Find Your Dream Job; the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard, your host and publisher of Mac’s List.

I’m joined by my co-hosts, Becky Thomas and Jessica Black, from the Mac’s List team.

This week, we’re talking about how knowing your strengths can help you get the best job fit.

We all want a job that’s a good fit. A position where we do our best work and shine. Our guest expert this week is Mary Blalock. She says that people who find jobs that fit the best start by looking at their strengths. Later in the show Mary and I talk about why this matters and how to do it.

Making the most of your current job, finding your next gig, and planning your career are all hard work. Becky has found an online tool created for women that breaks down these challenges into actionable steps. She tells us more in a moment.

You’re a generalist with broad experience. But you find that employers want a specific set of skills. How do you show an organization that you can help them? That’s our question of the week. It comes from listener Corey Wade in Portland, Oregon. Jessica shares her advice shortly.

As always, let’s start the show by checking in with the Mac’s List team.

Becky is here to share with us what she’s learned from exploring the Internet, looking for resources that can help you in your job search or your career. Becky, what have you uncovered for our listeners this week?

Becky Thomas:

This week I want to talk about a tool that helps women find direction in developing their career. It’s a personalized platform called Landit and it guides you through necessary steps and gives you tasks to help you do well in your current job, find a new role, or build a plan for what’s next.

I ran across an article on Forbes Online called, How This Founder Is Creating A Career Playbook For Women, in which the co-founder Lisa Skeete Tatum talked about how the idea for Landit came from her own experience and the experience of many professional women that she knew, that many women felt stuck or overwhelmed by the process and the prospect of building their ideal career when they may not have had a role model to base their trajectory on.

She said, and I’m going to quote from the article here: “One of the biggest barriers we have is that we don’t want people to know we don’t have it all figured out or that we are feeling a little less than completely confident. Landit was created to increase the success and engagement of women in the workplace and to enable companies to attract, develop, and retain high-potential diverse talent.” Which is awesome.

Jessica Black:

Yeah. that’s awesome.

Mac Prichard:

It is awesome.

Becky Thomas:

I think something that people often forget is that women are still relatively new to the workforce. While men have always had plenty of male role models to guide their career and provide inspiration and direction, many women in today’s world are first or second-generation professionals, so we don’t have the same level of people like us setting examples of what a successful career looks like.

So Landit gives you a bit of a roadmap to find that direction as a professional. I signed up for it – it’s free – and you have the option to connect it to your LinkedIn profile so that your work experience, education, etc. can be imported into the Landit platform. Then you select your goal.

It gives you some options: do you want to find a new job, excel at your current job, or just try to figure out what’s next? I picked “excel at your current job” and it set up a simple profile for me, then assigned me a few super simple, basic tasks to get started, which I think is awesome.

It uses a super fun interface. It’s really clean. I really enjoyed the look and the feel of the website. It looks like you’ll be assigned a few new tasks each week so you can make progress toward your goals. It’s like a choose your own adventure and there are a lot of options and services you can opt into, if you want to pay for online courses, or one-on-one coaching, or stuff like that.

Overall, Landit seems like a really valuable tool for any professional woman who’s feeling that sense of overwhelm or fear about the future. Having some tangible things to do can make you feel so much more in control of your career and it pushes you to make moves. It gives you something to take action on.

Yeah, check it out, if you’re feeling stuck, to get somebody to tell you what to do, or what the clearest next step is for your career. I think it’s a really cool platform.

Jessica Black:

That’s awesome. It’s my first time hearing about it but it’s a really great resource. I think that, like you mentioned before, even if you have a career that you have a trajectory, that you sort of know the steps to take, I think this is still really helpful. You shared a screenshot of what it told you for excelling in your current job and I think those are good resources for anyone. Especially for people who are not quite sure what the next step is going to be. You have a job and you’re not really sure, “Okay, what happens after this? What is the next clear step?” Sometimes it’s really clear and sometimes it’s not. I think that it’s helpful to have resources like this, beyond just Googling, “What do I do next?”

Becky Thomas:

Totally.

Mac Prichard:

I’m curious to see what would pop up if we Googled, “What should I do next?” What that search would reveal.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, that would be a good one. Probably a lot of different things.

Mac Prichard:

I’m guessing. Becky, as you explored the site, were there typical tasks? Or if people do sign up, what might they be doing in the course of the week?

Becky Thomas:

When I first signed up, it gave me a playbook, and it was like, “As someone looking to excel in your current job, here are five must do items.” It gave me, “Polish your personal brand with a LinkedIn review.” Or, “Keep track of your accomplishments and make sure you’re your own best advocate.” “Build and leverage your personal board of advisors.”

I can click on each separate task and it’ll give you some step-by-step some actions to take to make progress on those tasks. It does break it down in a really nice way. Sometimes you’re really overwhelmed by, “Well I know I need to do this, but how do I actually do it?” I think it’s really good and tactical and hands on. It’s like, “It’s okay, you can do this.” It’s cool, I like it.

Jessica Black:

It breaks it up from that feeling of the huge unknown into very practical steps, which I think is really helpful. I think that a lot of times people get really overwhelmed with like, “I know I have to do all of these hundreds of different things to get myself to the place that I want to be…” but this is like, “This is just a couple things a week. Or even just a couple things a month probably.”

But it’s not, “I have to do all the work.” Somebody is there helping you so you have some step-by-step guides. I think that’s really helpful.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I love the idea of a goal because with a click turned into a to-do list; it doesn’t mean that you have to do it all at once, but it does make it more practical.

Becky Thomas:

Yes, it’s practical actions you can take.

Mac Prichard:

Cool.

Jessica Black:

Thanks for sharing.

Becky Thomas:

Yeah, check it out.

Mac Prichard:

It’s a terrific resource it sounds like.

Well thank you, Becky. If you’ve got a suggestion for Becky, please write her. We’d love to share your idea on the show. Becky’s address is becky@macslist.org.

Now let’s turn to you, our listeners, and Jessica is here to answer one of your questions. Jessica, what is in the mailbag this week?

Jessica Black:

Yeah, this week we have an email question from Corey Wade, here in Portland. Corey wrote in asking:

My skills are broad and very general. But it seems like employers are really looking for very specific skill sets. How can I show organizations that I can help them in a variety of different capacities?”

I think this is a great question because again, it’s easy to get into that nebulous, “I don’t know where to start and how to show my value.” I do think that it’s true, that employers are looking for specific skill sets, we’ve shown that a lot. But that doesn’t mean that your varied expertise isn’t still an asset.

I also come from being a broad generalist, so I identified a lot with this question. There are still ways that you can stand out and show your expertise in a specific way. I’ve done that myself so I would love to share a little bit with Corey about how I did that and some tips.

Number one: Know that you have a specific skill set even though you are broad and you have a lot of different skills. You do have a common thread; we’ve talked about this before, looking at the common threads of what ties it all together. Sit down and think about what is the one thing in your vast experience that has been there throughout. That can help be a starting spot for finding your specificity.

Also, just hone in on that one area that you’re really excited about and sometimes that’s just a matter of, you may have multiple different directions that you can go, but you will have to take one and say, “This is the one I’m the most excited about”, and go from there. Speak to that directly and specifically. I would say to create a story arc about how your history has fed into that “niche”, whether that is organizational development, or communication, or something like that. You can have a variety of qualifications but there’s, again, that one common thread that flows throughout.

Understand the employers’ needs. Doing research and having conversations, like we talk about a lot. Really address those needs through both your specific skill set that you’re trying to play up, but also show how your general capacities can be an asset as well. Play up your specific skills, say communications, but then also bring in your other varied history to be able to show, “I’m an all-star at developing communication strategies, or whatever, but I’ve also worked for a radio station and I can add that to this and create an additional value as well.”

At the end of the day, it’s okay, and sometimes it’s good, to have a variety of skills, and establishing yourself as having a “specialty” will just really help you navigate that search and help employers see you as the best candidate.

Again, I encourage you to just look through your work history. Not knowing Corey’s history, and his vast skills, I don’t know specifically, I can’t comment directly on how to help him, but I think just taking that inventory of your history and your skills, and finding those common threads. Playing those up but also showing that having diversity in your skills is a benefit as well.

Anything else you guys would add?

Becky Thomas:

No, I think that you hit it in the early portion when you were like, “Find your thread through all of your different experiences.” There is something that makes you unique.

I would just caution Corey against being like, “I can help you in a variety of ways”, but show an organization how you can help them specifically, instead of being like, “Well I can do everything. Just give me whatever task”, because you need some way to differentiate yourself. Like you said, everybody has a unique offering. It’s on him to identify what his combination of skills is and how that sets him apart.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, I agree. To not just rely on that generalization because I think that that is an asset but you have to tell the employers what specific generalities you have. Not just, “I can do everything.” I think that’s a really good point, Becky. You can’t just say, “I can do everything.” Use your vast history to be able to show that you’re adaptable and that you have a lot of different qualities that will make you stand out. You do have to have that one thing that’s like…

Becky Thomas:

“Here’s the core, here’s me, here’s what I do.”

Jessica Black:

“This is why I’m an asset for this organization specifically.” Yeah, that’s a good point.

Mac Prichard:

I like that a lot and in marketing it’s called, “The Unique Selling Proposition”.

Jessica Black:

Oh, okay.

Mac Prichard:

What is the one thing that you do that makes you stand out? Because whether you’re looking for a job, or you’re selling a product or service, you can’t be all things to all people, as you said, Jessica. You’ve got to focus on the employers and where you can offer the most value. It’s okay not to try to reach out to everybody.

Jessica Black:

That’s right.

Mac Prichard:

Okay. Thank you, Jessica and Becky, and thank you Corey for the question. If you’ve got a question for Jessica, send her an email.  Her address is: jessica@macslist.org. You can also call our listener line. That’s area code is 716-JOB-TALK. Or post your question on the Mac’s List Facebook group.

If we use your question on the show, we’ll send you a copy of Land Your Dream Job Anywhere.

We’ll be back in a moment. When we return, I’ll talk with this week’s expert, Mary Blalock, about how knowing your strengths will help you get the best job fit.

I meet with thousands of job seekers each year. People who struggle to find meaningful, rewarding work that matters.

I find that many of these people make the same simple mistake in their job search. It’s a fatal error that makes the hunt for work longer and harder than it needs to be.

What’s this critical mistake? People don’t have a clear job search goal.

You might think it’s wise to apply everywhere. But the more you narrow down your job search, the easier everything gets and the happier you will be in your next gig.

Stop chasing every lead. Instead, put all your energy into the opportunities that you really want. Of course, setting your goals is easier said than done. Especially when all you know is what you don’t want to do!

That’s why I created a new resource that can help. It’s called Finding Focus in Your Job Search. This step-by-step guide will help you figure out what you want in your career and in your next job.

To get Finding Focus in Your Job Search, visit macslist.org/focus.

Now, let’s get back to the show!

Now, let’s turn to this week’s guest expert, Mary Blalock.

Mary Blalock is a career coach and co-founder of Ladies’ Night PDX. She helps women advance in their careers through coaching, classes, and events.

Previously, Mary was a recruiter and she worked with Amazon, Microsoft, Nike, Adidas, and many more companies.

She joins us today here in the Mac’s List studio in Portland, Oregon.

Mary, thanks for coming downtown.

Mary Blalock:

Thank you so much, Mac.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, our topic this week is finding the right job fit. You say that one of the best ways to do that is to know your strengths. Why is it so hard, Mary, for people to find jobs that are a good fit?

Mary Blalock:

Well, that’s a good question. The number one question that I get from people is what direction they should go in in their career. It’s an interesting question. I always say that the best way to know what direction you should go on in your career is through, what are your strengths?

Looking at what you’re good at, and what you’re naturally a good fit for, and using that for the direction to go in. It may not, interestingly enough, be a job that you’ve had in the past. It might be something that you’re doing in your personal life; it might be volunteer work you do. Really thinking about your strengths.

The interesting thing about strengths, though, is that it can be hard to figure out what those are. I always recommend people think about what energizes them and what they get excited about when they get into a flow with some work.

Mac Prichard:

I love the idea that you brought up, the subject of energy, because I think we’ve all had that experience, haven’t we, Mary, whether it’s volunteering or working, where we just feel like we’re doing what we were meant to be do?

Mary Blalock:

Yeah, there’s a positive psychologist who has an interesting name, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and he has a book called Flow and it’s really inspiring to me because sometimes when you’re using your strengths, when you’re doing what you’re really good at, you’re in a flow state. You don’t even sometimes realize what’s going on around you. You may not feel excited but you just feel really focused and happy and calm.

Mac Prichard:

First of all, kudos to you for pronouncing his name. I’m familiar with the book and a number of his articles, but I’ve struggled with what that might sound like.

Mary Blalock:

Yeah, I practice it because I say it a bunch. I was like, “I have to know how to say this.”

Mac Prichard:

Aside from paying attention to our energy, which I think is a really important way to know what might be a good fit for us, what are other ways that people can get clear about what their strengths are?

Mary Blalock:

The thing that I recommend people do, and this may not be starting with your job search, but if you’re in a job right now and you’re not even ready to job search, I recommend starting a brag sheet. That could just be an open Google doc, maybe not on your work computer, but your home computer or a piece of paper where you just write down every time you have a  really great experience at work, you have an accomplishment that you feel good about…even a really small thing like, knowing how to use Excel really well and figuring out a formula.

Just continuing to write down things that are either really exciting and inspiring or little things that just make you realize that your day is going well. That way, when you’re in a lower place and not feeling great, you can read it over, get some inspiration, feel better about yourself. Also, you can use that when you’re creating a resume or when you’re preparing for an interview to remember some of the stories of different things that you accomplished in your career.

Mac Prichard:

That’s a great tip, because I think that sometimes we forget everything that we have accomplished in a job or outside the workplace. It can be difficult to recall them when we have to update that LinkedIn profile. can’t it?

Mary Blalock:

Yeah, it really can. You can get brain freeze during that time. It’s nice to have some history. If you’re job searching right now, you can still sit down and do some brainstorming, thinking back to the past; that way you’re not on the spot in an interview necessarily, but you have some time to think it over.

Mac Prichard:

Are there more formal assessment tools that you recommend that people can use to get clear about their strengths.

Mary Blalock:

There are a lot. I have a list that I give people. There’s Kolbe, it’s a good one. StrengthsFinder, there’s one called 16 Personalities. One I recommend a lot is called So Kan U but the thing that I noticed about those is that they can give you a lot of information but sometimes make you feel more broad about all of the different options they give you, rather than…You always know yourself best I think. Sometimes sitting down with a piece of paper and a pen can get you focused on what you already know about yourself and realize that… Thinking about the things that you know but maybe a test wouldn’t be able to discover about you.

Mac Prichard:

Okay, so we know what our strengths are, we’ve used those formal assessment tools, we’ve kept that brag sheet or done some reflection. Now we’re ready to talk about those strengths in a job search. What’s the best way to do that, Mary?

Mary Blalock:

One of the best things for your resume is to create a career statement at the top of the resume. So many of my clients that have come to me have really varied backgrounds. You may have had the same type of job throughout your career, or maybe you haven’t, but you can’t always fit into a box. When you’re job searching and you’re applying for a specific job, it can be hard to fit in that box if your last position wasn’t exactly like that position.

A career statement at the top of your resume is a paragraph that can tell…I recommend saying, years of experience, and job title, that sort of thing. Really focus in on the qualities that you have, that may not be reflected in your current job, that are related to that job you’re applying for.

You can use a job title as a verb. Say that you weren’t a project manager, you can say that you project managed. In that paragraph, skewing things a little bit more to that job description by making your job title into a verb.

Mac Prichard:

I like the way that sounds. I can imagine some old school English grammar instructors who are wincing at that, but I like the idea a lot.

Good. Well how about storytelling? Once you lay out that career statement, is it important to tell a career story as well, Mary?

Mary Blalock:

Yeah, it’s good to get your career story straight. I like to use career story instead of elevator speech because who ever gives an elevator pitch? Who ever gives a pitch in an elevator? I think it just makes people nervous, especially when you’re job searching. You want to feel more relaxed and inspired.

Thinking about your story throughout your career, what are some consistent themes throughout your career and what does that say about you? Rather than, like we just said, about fitting into a box. You’re not trying to squeeze your personality to fit into someone else’s idea of what you should be. Really finding some common, consistent themes throughout your career so you can tell a consistent story about yourself, even if on your resume, it doesn’t look exactly like the job description. Finding the story you can tell and people will get it.

Authentically you’ll be telling it and they’ll understand authentically who you are.

Mac Prichard:

When you look at effective career stories you’ve seen in the past, typically, when people are sharing them, how long do they run and what structure do they have?

Mary Blalock:

Career stories can take different forms. It might be the career statement at your resume beginning paragraph, but when you’re talking in an interview, the structure I recommend for telling your career story is actually, instead of starting in the past and going to the future and telling the whole entire story about your life, that can take forever, the way to shorten it down would be to say, start with the present first.  Because you’re in an interview, it’s not very long. You only have about an hour to tell everything about yourself.

If someone asks the question, “Tell me about yourself”, you want to start with the present because it engages them in what they want to hear about what you’re doing now and how that might be relevant to the job that you’re applying for.

Start with the present, talk about the past briefly to engage them in what are the consistent themes throughout your career. Talk about the future and wrap it all up as much as you can into a nice, clean package.

Mac Prichard:

What part should describing our strengths play in that story? How do you recommend people weave those strengths into a career story?

Mary Blalock:

Well, if you’ve done a brag sheet type of exercise, and maybe done some testing, gotten really close on a list of what you’re good at, then you can tell the story a lot clearer because you’re highlighting the positive. That’s really what it is, and talking about authentically who you are as a person. You can sound a little more relaxed and confident because you’re talking about something you’re excited about. What we were saying before about what energizes you.

I notice a real difference in people’s energy and their presence in front of me, when they’re talking about something they’re excited about or something that is of interest to them, rather than just talking about their jobs.

Definitely, when you’re telling your career story you want to focus on the things that energize you so that you can project that energy on the outside. too.

Mac Prichard:

That energy is going to be helpful to you as a candidate, isn’t it? When interviewers are comparing you to other candidates who perhaps don’t have as much energy.

Mary Blalock:

Yeah, it’s amazing how people sit up straighter, their eyes light up, everything about the way they looks seems a lot more vibrant because they’re excited, because they’re interested. I don’t think people always notice when they’re doing it, but if you’re just talking about your job it can not seem as connected to that person.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, in my experience with talking to job seekers who are clear about their strengths and they’re excited about the opportunity, they’re just putting their best foot forward and I think they’re making a more compelling case to hiring managers when they do that.

Mary Blalock:

Definitely. That’s a good point. Working in recruiting for so long, and talking to a lot of hiring managers, I hear over and over this idea that people just want to hire someone who really interested and excited about the role. Obviously, they need to have someone that’s a good fit too, for the experience, but the number one thing they’re looking for is someone who’s really interested in the job. If you can show a lot of energy around it, then you’re going to be a lot more hireable.

Mac Prichard:

One of the pieces of advice I got…in graduate school when we were picking classes, the advisors would say, “Play to your strengths, and think about the things that you want to do, and that you’re good at and you’ll get even better at them.”

Mary Blalock:

Definitely. Yeah, it’s strengths-based, rather than saying, “Oh, you’re not good at this, you should work really hard to be better.” Then you end up just spinning your wheels instead of thriving.

Mac Prichard:

Well, we’ve got to wrap it up in a moment, Mary, but I know in our earlier conversation, you talked about the importance that mentors can play in both helping us identify our strengths and helping us present them during a job search. Can you tell us a little more about that?

Mary Blalock:

Yeah, mentors are great and just people in general. I work with women a lot in my networking groups and in my coaching, and I know, historically, there hasn’t been a great mentorship system in the workforce for women. I think it’s getting better, and definitely in Portland, there’s some amazing groups here, and probably all over the country in a lot of ways I’ve heard of. They’re really great, usually they’re specific to industries, so thinking about what industry you’re in, finding if there’s some mentorship programs in that industry can be really helpful.

But people are a really good focus to finding jobs. Oftentimes, people come to me after they’ve been looking at job boards, and that’s an obvious way to job search, but I always remind people to think about how they can connect with individual people as well. Getting into an industry, or learning more about a company, by finding the people in those companies through…You might have lecture series that are about a topic that you’re interested in. If you go to those lecture series, you’re going to have a lot to talk about with the people in the audience. You might go to get some food at a food table and strike up a conversation because you’re both really interested in that subject.

Finding the people who are interested in the same types of things as you. It’s hard to find mentors sometimes, it’s definitely something to pursue, but there are programs out there that offer mentors.

Mac Prichard:

Well thanks, Mary. Now tell us, what’s next for you?

Mary Blalock:

Well, I am working with women in coaching a lot. I created a salary guide for women who are doing negotiation in their job search. You can find that at my website maryblalock.com/salary. I’m going to have a lot more resources throughout the next year, specifically geared toward a focus on women.

There’s actually a great website that I wanted to recommend for…I’ve been hearing a lot of women who want to work with women leaders and there’s this really great website called, We Are The Boss Ladies. It just came out and it’s an excel document that people are adding to and it’s women leaders. If you’re looking for a mentor like we talked about, to work for a woman who’s really excelled in her career, or a CEO, then you can find it that way.

Mac Prichard:

Terrific.  Again, people can learn more about you by visiting your website, which is maryblalock.com.

Mary, thanks for being on the show.

Mary Blalock:

Thanks so much for having me.

Mac Prichard:

It’s been a pleasure. Take care.

We’re back in the studio with Becky and Jessica. What were some key takeaways for you two from my conversation with Mary?

Jessica Black:

Well, that was great. She had so many fantastic points.

Mac Prichard:

That was great.

Jessica Black:

Yeah. She spoke about good energy and she was in the studio and she had such good energy as well which was wonderful. One thing that I really took away was her comment about… Number one I liked her focus on creating a brag sheet or just listing accomplishments that you have. Like she mentioned, it’s so easy to go about your day-to-day, then forget about those things. Then when you actually need to stop and think about those things that you’ve done, it’s harder to recall all of the things that you’ve done. Keeping that list on a regular basis is so important.

Another thing I liked, kind of related to that, was her focus on trusting yourself and knowing that you are going to know yourself the best, rather than relying on personality tests or other people to tell you what to do or how you should best utilize your career. That focus on being introspective and really taking time to sit down and think about the things that you’ve done, and what gives you energy, and again, what those common threads are, like we talked about before. The commonalities throughout your career history to really be able to help guide you.

I think she was spot on when she said that it sometimes gives you more confusion than help when you look to those external things. I mean, we’ve all talked about personality tests, and you both know how much I love them and I do think that they are very helpful to be able to give you basic information about yourself, but you do have to just sit down and trust that you alone are going to know specifically where your strengths lie. I thought that that was a really good piece of advice.

Mac Prichard:

I did too. Trust your instincts and pay attention to your energy. It’s hard to sort through all the options that you have but I thought her advice was very good.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, absolutely.

Becky Thomas:

I almost imagine that brag sheet as being your career journal or your job journal.

Jessica Black:

Totally.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah.

Becky Thomas:

“Here’s what I enjoyed today. Here’s when I was getting into flow during this task.”

Jessica Black:

“Dear diary…”

Becky Thomas:

“I had this small accomplishment where I was like, ‘I had this really great brainstorm with Jessica and I feel so good’, I want to be an ideas person.”

Jessica Black:

Or, “I brought something up in a meeting and the team responded really well and now we’re going to implement it and we created an action plan for that and I was able to lead that and spearhead that. Now we’re going to execute it.” Those types of things are so great because it does help you remember that you are doing great work.

Becky Thomas:

It gives you that direction and it gives you a reminder of your accomplishments for when you need to go back and update your resume and think about what you’ve accomplished in your job as you move forward. It’s a double-edged sword of awesome.

I also like what she was talking about in terms of telling your career story and getting comfortable telling it and being comfortable and confident talking about yourself and what you have to offer. Then it’s not an elevator pitch, it’s just being honest, and truthful, and consistent about who you are. That was so refreshing.

Jessica Black:

Yeah, absolutely. It was.

Along those same lines I liked that she mentioned to keep the focus in the present. Use some history to give anecdotal facts and things like that but focus on the present rather than going back and reminiscing about twenty years ago, starting there and going all the way through. Like she said, that will take a  long time and people want to know what your focuses are right now, or what’s your story. “What are you focusing on right now and how can you help me?”, in an interview.

I think being able to have this succinctness of an elevator pitch but in a more compelling way with a career story, I think that was good.

Mac Prichard:

It’s interesting you brought up journaling, Becky, because when she was describing that, I thought of a career journal. There’s a fellow, Austin Kleon, who wrote a book called, Steal Like An Artist.

Becky Thomas:

Oh yeah, he’s great. I follow him on Instagram.

Mac Prichard:

He is, and one of his suggestions in that book is to keep a daily log. Just set aside five or ten minutes at the end of the day.  Not to do a diary or describe what you did that day, but just write down the highlights. I don’t know that you need to do that with your career every day, but if you have a process in place, you’re going to not only feel good about yourself, but you’re going to create that paper trail of content that you can repurpose for other things like amazing resumes and LinkedIn profiles.

Jessica Black:

That’s great.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. Well, thank you both, and thank you, Mary, for joining us today, and you, our listeners, for downloading today’s episode of Find Your Dream Job

Today’s show was the importance of finding the right fit in a job. One of the most importants step you can take to make this happen is to know what you want to do next.

If you’re struggling with getting clear about your goals, you need to check out our new guide, Finding Focus in Your Job Search.

You can download it now on the Mac’s List website.  Go to macslist.org/focus.

Join us next Wednesday, when our special guest will be Lauren McGoodwin. She’ll explain why your self-worth is not your net worth.

Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job!

What do you do when you know you need to move forward in your career, but you need some direction? Many people end up in career paths that aren’t a great fit for their natural talents and passions. If you’re looking for a better job fit, start to observe yourself at work, name your strengths, and rewrite your career story to show off your enthusiasm and ability. Portland-based career coach Mary Blalock joins us on this episode of Find Your Dream Job to share tips, tricks, and resources to learn about your strengths and find your best job fit.

About Our Guest: Mary Blalock

Mary Blalock is a Portland-based career coach and co-founder of Ladies’ Night PDX. She helps women advance in their careers through coaching, classes, and events. Previously, Mary was a recruiter and worked with Amazon, Microsoft, Nike, Adidas, and many more. Learn more on Mary’s website.

Resources in this Episode: