Equipping yourself for the job hunt (pt. 1)

Summer term is two-thirds over now, and the job and internship hunt is officially beginning for many MIMers.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have scheduled two classes in the first third of the term, meaning that I have no class for about two months, meaning that I can devote all of my attention to looking for work and professional experience (and my exit project…).  To help with this process, I’ve been meeting with my mentor for advisement and informational interviews with local business professionals.  While these leads are not designed to segue into a job offer or work opportunity, they are helping me develop a more refined idea of exactly what I want to do and the kind of company that I might want to work for.

Now, as current MIMers are in their specialization courses, they’ve developed some idea of what kind of job they might like to pursue after finishing the program, and have some kind of idea of what their dream job might be.  However, there’s more to finding a job than finding a position that you want – there’s the company that the job is with, what you can bring to the table, your own personal views and opinions.  One of the tools that my mentor introduced me to is the “VIP ToolKit.”  The purpose of this tool is to help anyone looking for a job figure out qualities and skills that they have, what is important to them in their life, and how that might affect what kind of potential employer they might want to work for.  The tool works in a handy anagram kind of matrix, in which you fill out, under each header things about yourself, that fit into each category, like so:

V(alues) – what you hold to be important in your life.  This can include your relationships with friends and your significant other, how you view the environment around you and the degree to which you strive to protect it, and even how important financial stability and growth is to you.  The purpose of this section is to help you understand how your own values may clash/mesh with employers and even certain kinds of jobs.

I(nterests) – how you enjoy to spend your free time.  This includes your personal and recreational interests, and is meant to make you think about how a job might affect your ability to pursue those interests.

P(references) – simply, what kind of environment you want to work in.  When explained to me, “preferences” were to include things about your personality that might contribute to how you work and what kind of surroundings you are comfortable with.  I was told that it might be useful to use your Meyers-Briggs type as a foundation for this kind of thing (though I’m sure that other personality tests would work well too – I just happen to prefer the Meyers-Briggs).

T(alents)ool – skills and talents that you possess.  The way that this was described to me, the “talents” section of the tool should include some input from friends and family that know you well – while you may have certain things that you think you’re good at, there may be some other things that you’ve overlooked that third parties may be able to help you realize.  Talents are meant to provide a list of things that you can talk about with potential employers that might accentuate your applicability for the position you are interested in.

K(nowledge)it – what you know.  In addition to any formal education that you have, this can also include any kind of certifications that you may have received that make you more attractive to employers.  These certifications can include anything from a food-handler’s license to being a Six-Sigma black belt.

The VIP ToolKit does a pretty good job of at least making you think about yourself and why an employer might want to hire you.  There’s more helpful information that I’ve been given by my mentor to help with job searching and career building – that’s why this particular blog entry is the first in a two-part series that I’ll be writing to share some of what I’ve learned to prepare me for post-MIM life.  So, stay tuned!

-パトリック

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