Aligning Your Capabilities with Your Career Aspirations

Having a full understanding of your skills and behaviors is critical to reaching your dream job or dream industry. For a while, ambition can bring positive results and even a job promotion, but without introspection, your engaged, ‘self-starter’ approach will eventually fade. When you genuinely understand your capabilities and see them in action, confidence can take over when it comes to achieving your highest aspirations. Carrying out your career aspirations brings benefits of intense focus, passion, and clarity. If this is a step too soon for you and you require a little guidance for your career indecision, consider these thoughts.

There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.” – Napoleon Hill

A former Fortune 50 COO and leadership coach, India Gary-Martin, credits networking and leadership development courses for overcoming her lack of experience and producing her eventual success. Below, she reveals five crucial questions you must ask yourself in aligning yourself with your aspirations:

Do you have any existing relationships with the leaders who will become your peer group?

There is no substitute for experience. If you desire a leadership role, you can anticipate work experience to be your greatest bargaining chip. If you want to learn more about a specific company, industry, or position, reaching out for an informational interview is your window to a firsthand perspective. It is very likely that the career professional you admire received some help along the way, and they will feel inclined to ‘pay it forward.’ If you don’t ask, you don’t receive. 

What are the attributes of those who are currently or have previously been in the role?

Whether through an in-person meeting, a phone call, LinkedIn messaging, or thorough internet research, understanding the features that construct the position of power you covet will bring you one step closer. For example, if you desire a leadership position in business operations, you may come across crucial components such as organization, problem-solving, analytics, supervising, and decision-making. Is cost efficiency and budgeting in your nature? As you converse with seasoned professionals, note whether or not their journeys align with your background and capabilities. 

How do leaders and staff perceive you?

Are you aware of what your peers and superiors think about you? It may be time to ask the tough questions with your most trusted and authentic associates. Discover how they observe your greatest strengths and most notable weaknesses. What are your most impressionable ‘hard skills’ and ‘soft skills’? Do they believe you would thrive in a position of leadership? Saying you are ready and actually being ready are two different things. These perceptions about you matter because they will come to fruition in your next role, whether you believe it or not. 

Do you have a compelling story?

It’s unlikely that you will check every box for an employer, and that’s where your preparation and storytelling come into play. The difference between the candidate who gets hired versus one who is not is often their ability to tie their work experience and achievements into the job description at hand. Your ability to control the narrative in what makes you the most qualified and presentable candidate can put you a step above your peers. 

“Why you?”

After checking all the boxes and offering a compelling story, you still have to address this final question. What is it about you that will benefit the company specifically in a way no other candidate can? Is there a unique anecdote that goes beyond the alignment of your capabilities and the job you desire? If you don’t believe in yourself, you are only causing others to do the same. Confidence plays a significant role in achieving your big dreams, even if it is through small, practical steps. 

Whether companies are hiring or not, make an introduction and let your passion lead the way. Carry yourself with a mindset of endless opportunity and curiosity. You are likely more qualified than you believe.

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