lady doing self-reflection

Self-Awareness: a sharp realization of your personality, including your strengths and weaknesses, your thoughts and beliefs, your emotions, and your motivations. – Develop Good Habits

I once coached a recent grad who was determined to land a job in the finance/banking industry. She came to me after almost giving up hope as she just could not land a job.

She (let’s call her Sarah for the sake of this article) was a straight-A student with a spectacular GPA, who was actively involved in student-run organizations throughout her college career yet, she just could not land a job. She had applied to multiple job openings and sent her resume to numerous recruiters and would often hear nothing back. If she did get to the interview round she was never called back or offered the position.

Something was wrong.

The first thing I asked Sarah to do when we began working together was to tell me her strengths, weaknesses, and passions. This was difficult for her to articulate and at that moment I recognized the problem. Sarah was not self-aware. I proceeded to have her do some self-reflection exercises and write down what she was really good at and the areas in which she was not as skilled.

I discovered a common theme that had come up with many other job seekers I had coached in the past and that was a lack of self-awareness. The truth is that unless you really know yourself as a job-seeker you cannot coherently articulate to a hiring manager or recruiter why they should hire you.

Self-awareness, as it relates to job-seekers, is the art of knowing yourself – your value offering, skills, strengths, weaknesses, passions, and ideal work environments. It is understanding yourself to the point where you are comfortable with both your strong points and your pain areas. It is brutal honesty.

I believe there are 3 things that a lack of self-awareness can do to a job seeker:

  1. It leaves you feeling lost and overwhelmed during the job application process because you do not have a clear picture of what you really want out of a job.
  2. It leads you to send your resume to any and every job opening that “looks good” even when your skillset and prior experience do not match the job description.
  3. It makes you unable to effectively sell yourself through your Resume, Cover Letter and especially in an interview. So you may be the ideal candidate for the job but you are not able to show it.

If a person is self-aware, not only will they begin to discover jobs that align with their skillsets and passions, they will also be able to sell their value-offering to the potential employer and thus greatly increase their chances of landing a job offer.

Working with Sarah to become more self-aware enabled her to soon after land what she terms her “dream job!” All because she was self-aware.