Why you need one
By Michael "Dr. Woody" Woodward, PhD
Good news seems hard to come by these days. A summer 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed national unemployment at 9.5%, which is unchanged from summer 2009. When it comes to new entrants into the workforce (those 20-24 years old), the unemployment rate is over 17%, a frightening thought for those of you fast approaching the world of work. The reality is that the future of employment in this country is uncertain. For you, as a college student and aspiring professional, your challenge will be to create certainty out of an uncertain future. Welcome to the New Economy.
The only way to create a sense of certainty when faced with an uncertain future is to devise a plan. The New Economy is no longer about chasing opportunities, it’s about creating opportunities. Whether it’s pursuing an internship, summer job, or volunteer position, creating your own opportunities will require taking charge and creating a personalized “you” plan!
Creating a YOU Plan
Creating a “You” plan starts with taking stock of who you are and the assets you have at your disposal. Developing your plan starts with asking yourself five fundamental questions:
- What are my Values?
- What are my Intrinsics?
- What are my Passions?
- What is my Essence or personal brand?
- What is my Roadmap for making it happen?
Understanding who you are starts with building self-awareness. The first three questions are about looking inward and getting a sense of who you are and what you bring to the table. Before you can make a serious push to create that next opportunity, you need to have a firm handle on your Values, Intrinsics, and Passions or what I like to refer to as your VIPs.
By answering the three VIP questions you have really answered the question of what is your essence. Your essence is what you are about as an individual. Knowing yourself is important, but like any great product or brand, if nobody knows about it, nobody cares. Turning your essence into a brand that can be effectively marketed for potential internship or employment opportunities is a critical step in the planning process.
After establishing your essence/brand, the final step is to determine your direction and create a roadmap for getting there. The idea is to decide on some potential career directions you’d like to explore. Whether it’s an internship, summer job, or volunteer position, you are going to have to be thoughtful in your approach. The next step is to draw out a roadmap for exploring these interests. As you create a roadmap consider the potential contacts and relationships you have that can help you make inroads with target organizations.
Remember, creating a “you” plan isn’t easy and it shouldn’t be. However, it is a critical first step in building a foundation. Each week in my Wednesday blog post I will discuss these five questions in more depth, beginning with Values in my next blog post.
Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a CEC certified professional coach who holds a PhD in organizational psychology. Dr. Woody is founder of the consulting firm HCI and author of the new book The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy.