055: Career Decisions: Bringing it all Together

Bringing it All Together

This month, I’ve done episodes covering Motivated Skills, personality preferences using the framework of the MBTI, Core Values, and Areas of Expertise in making career decisions.

Remember, I’ve talked about the macro- and micro-level of career decisions. On the macro level, you are making a decision about the career path you will follow.

On a micro-level, you are using this information to make decisions about which jobs to take. On an even more micro-level, you are using the knowledge to guide projects, programs, committee assignments, and job duties…or to help you boss make these same decisions.

Today I want to bring all of these things together. First, a refresher.

Motivated Skills

Those skills that you are both very good at and get a great deal of pleasure from doing. The reason they are called Motivated Skills is that the more you do them, the more motivated you will be about your work.

The opposite of Motivated Skills is Burnout Skills. Burnout Skills are those skills that you are very good at, but DON’T get pleasure from doing. In fact, these skills suck the motivation right out of you. The more you have to perform Burnout Skills in your work, the more likely you are to…you guessed it…burn out.

 A few examples of Motivated Skills are Writing, Presentation Skills, Customer Service, Working with Numerical Data, Research, Mechanical Reasoning, Troubleshooting, Teaching, and Planning.

Personality Preferences

Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as the framework, it measures personality preferences on four scales and identifies one of 16 personality types based on your responses. The MBTI identifies your innate preferences…the way you prefer to handle a situation or task if given the option.

The preference pairs of the MBTI are:

Extraversion vs. Introversion, which is your orientation to the outer world…where you get your energy from.

Sensing vs. Intuition, which is your preferred way of taking in information, and the type of information you prefer to work with.

Thinking vs. Feeling, which is your preferred decision-making style.

Judging vs. Perceiving, which is how you order your world.


Core Values

What is most important to you in an employer, a work environment, and the specific work you’re doing.

Identifying these “non-negotiable” values helps you align your career choices with what is most important to you. And alignment increases your chance for career success, higher compensation, and satisfaction.

 Here are a few sample Values:

-Utilize physical strength and coordination

-Utilize courage and take risks

-Utilize creativity and originality

-Opportunity for advancement

-Ability to do a job as efficiently as possible

-Receive recognition for accomplishments

-Ability to exert power and influence

-Higher than average financial rewards


Areas of Expertise

What are You REALLY Good At? We’re talking about capitalizing on your Areas of Expertise.

If you’re just getting out of college, your Areas of Expertise are probably vague ideas…shadows of what is to come. But if you’ve been in the workforce for a few years, you should have at least 2-3 Areas of Expertise, with more to develop as you progress through your career.

I connected the Areas of Expertise to your Motivated Skills, because I see your Areas of Expertise as sub-sets of your Motivated Skills.

Let’s say, for example, one of your Motivated Skills is Writing, which is defined as “Possessing excellent writing skills. Able to create business or technical documents, correspondence, and other effective written communications.”

So you get a job in the Public Relations office of a company, where one of your main duties is to write press releases. Because of this experience, one of your Areas of Expertise becomes “Writing Press Releases.”

Let’s put all of this information together in a couple of case studies that will hopefully help you get the idea.


Case Study #1 – Danielle

Danielle is a 25-year-old college graduate who studied communications in college and has been working in the entertainment industry since graduating. She is looking to make a career change because she finds her current field to be too competitive and not meaningful enough for her.

Danielle’s top 5 Motivated Skills are:


-Public Relations


-Creative or Imaginative with Ideas


Her personality type is ENFJ; here’s the description of that personality type:

Imaginative HARMONIZERS; at their best when winning people’s cooperation with insight into their needs. They value:

  • Having a wide circle of relationships
  • Having a positive, enthusiastic view of life
  • Seeing subtleties in people and interactions
  • Understanding others’ needs and concerns
  • An active, energizing social life
  • Seeing possibilities in people
  • Follow-through on important projects
  • Working on several projects at once
  • Caring and imaginative problem solving
  • Maintaining relationships to make things work
  • Shaping organizations to better serve members
  • Caring, compassion, and tactfulness

Her Core Values are:

-Utilize creativity and imagination

-Ability to help/serve others

-Close relationships with co-workers

-Working on multiple projects simultaneously

-Flexibility in work schedule

How would you coach Danielle? Here’s what we talked about:

-She needs a career that is meaningful to her in that she is able to help others while utilizing her considerable creativity. She prefers freedom in her work hours – as long as she gets the work done, it shouldn’t matter when she does it. She also wants to wear multiple hats, so a start-up would be a good fit for her (smaller company = more jobs to be done).

Danielle decided to pursue careers in non-profit marketing – finding a non-profit she is passionate about, which is fitness, and marketing that non-profit to the appropriate audiences.

Case Study #2 – Brandon

Brandon has just graduated from college with a degree in business but doesn’t know where he wants to go. He interned with Enterprise Rent-a-Car while in college and liked the variety of work but didn’t like the front-line management part of his job or how little structure there was to his daily duties.

Brandon’s top 5 Motivated Skills are:



-Customer Service

-Work with Numerical Data


-Detail Management

Brandon’s personality preference is ESTJ; here’s the description of that personality type:

Fact-minded practical ORGANIZERS; at their best when they can take charge and set things in logical order. They value:

  • Results; doing, acting
  • Planned, organized work and play
  • Common-sense practicality; usefulness
  • Consistency; standard procedures
  • Deciding quickly and logically
  • Having things settled and closed; orderliness
  • Rules, objective standards, fairness
  • Task-focused behavior
  • Directness, tough-mindedness
  • Systematic structure; efficiency
  • Scheduling and monitoring
  • Protecting what works

Brandon’s Core Values are:

-Open for Advancement

-Ability to Do Job as Efficiently as Possible

-Highly Structured Environment

-Work that Mentally Challenges You

-Performing Clearly Defined Tasks

How would you coach Brandon? Here’s what we talked about:

Brandon liked the sales aspect of his internship with Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and had also had part-time jobs where sales was a component of his job. He likes the idea of being highly compensated for superior performance in sales.

What Brandon DOESN’T like about sales is the unpredictability of it…how flexible you have to be. Brandon LOVES structure.

So where do we go from here?

One of the top careers for ESTJs is Business Administrator, and the administrative aspects of his internship appealed to Brandon. He admitted that, once he was older and more experienced, he wouldn’t mind supervising employees…he just didn’t feel qualified to do that as an intern.

Brandon decided to pursue jobs as a sales compensation analyst, where he could use his sales experience coupled with his love of structure to research ways to attract and retain top-notch salespeople.

From there, Brandon could see himself moving into other business administration roles.

Case Study #3 – Sadie

Sadie has been out of college for eight years; she majored in psychology. When she began that degree, she planned to get a Ph.D. in psychology, but as she went through her coursework that became less interesting to her.

After graduating, Sadie got a job in human resources as a generalist – some hiring, some benefits, all kinds of personnel issues. She liked the variety of the work but didn’t love the constraints around how she could help the employees. She stayed in this job for three years.

The next job Sadie had was also in human resources, at a larger company where she specialized in recruiting employees. She liked feeling like she was really helping people but found the career fairs and other large recruiting events to be extremely draining.

Most recently, Sadie has worked as a Recruiter for a recruiting firm. This has been a step back in that she feels overwhelmed by the volume of people contacting her and the volume of contacts she has to make each day. She’s ready for a complete change.

Sadie’s top 5 Motivated Skills are:




-Performance Improvement

-Creativity or Imagination with Ideas

Sadie’s MBTI type is INFP; here’s the description of that personality type:

Imaginative, independent HELPERS; at their best when their inner ideals are expressed through helping people. They value:

  • Harmony in the inner life of ideas
  • Harmonious work settings; working individually
  • Seeing big-picture possibilities
  • Creativity; curiosity; exploring
  • Helping people find their potential
  • Giving ample time to reflect on decisions
  • Adaptability and openness
  • Compassion and caring; attention to feelings
  • Work that lets them express their idealism
  • Gentle, respectful interactions
  • Showing appreciation and being appreciated
  • Close, loyal friends

Sadie’s Core Values are

-Help/Serve Others

-Ability to Teach/Train

-Ability to Give Ideas/Input/Suggestions

-A Quiet Workspace

-Unstructured, Open Environment

How would you coach Sadie? Here’s what happened:

Sadie talked about considering a Master’s in Counseling so she could become a Certified Counselor, but decided she was more interested in being a coach. Because I have considerable knowledge in this area, I was able to educate Sadie on the types of coaching out there, the industry as a whole, and how she could proceed.

She had some homework to do! When she came back, she was excited about becoming a life coach. We drilled down a bit further, and Sadie decided she wanted to coach recruiters to become better at what they do – she saw a lot of problems with this industry and was confident she could help improve it.

She found a coaching program she liked, signed up, and went through the certification process while keeping her job as a recruiter. We worked on her thoughts about her job so it was more enjoyable, and we also strategized about how to leverage her contacts for when she opened her coaching practice.

I hope these three case studies have given you some ideas about all this self-information comes together in the career decision-making process. Of course, if you’d like to work with an expert in this process, reach out to me.

Remember, I am offering a FREE 5-day course on “Finding Your Professional Purpose,” which includes Motivated Skills and Values activities. To optin: http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/professional-purpose-five-day-course/




The Macro- and Micro-Levels of Your Career Choice

The Macro- and Micro-Levels of Your Career Choice

This week’s podcast is about identifying and incorporating your Core Values into your career choice.

Let’s talk about this at the Macro, Micro, and Micro-Micro level (I totally made that last one up).

Example #1

Perhaps one of your Core Values is “Earnings Directly Tied to My Contribution.” You choose the career field of sales because you know the more successful you are in your job, the more money you will make. This is the Macro-Level.

You accept a sales position with a company that is 100% commission. However, once you get in the job, you find that the compensation system makes it very difficult, if not downright impossible, to earn more than about $100k. This is the Micro-Level.

Let’s say you are a pharmaceutical rep who is selling an older drug, one for a disease state that has recently seen a flood of new drugs on the market. You are, in essence, selling old, unsexy medication. On the Micro-Micro level, you might have to work your tail off to earn much selling your drug.

See how this works?

Example #2

One of your core values is “A Collaborative Work Environment.” You’ve chosen the career field of teaching…what could be more collaborative than that? This is the Macro-Level.

You accept a teaching position in a school district that is facing severe budget cuts. The teachers all have large class sizes, and there is rampant fear of more personnel getting the ax. As a result, no one is helping anyone else…everyone is looking out for themselves. This is the Micro-Level.

You, however, have the opportunity to affect the English department at your school, of which you are a member. You bring some creative team-building activities to the table and decide you are going to help your fellow teachers in any way you can. This is the Micro-Micro Level.

Get it?

To listen to this week’s podcast, “Incorporating Core Values into Your Career Decision,” click here:







053: Translating Your Core Values into your Career Decision

Core Values

This month’s podcasts are covering the importance of incorporating your skills, values, personality, and areas of expertise into your career decision. Today, we’re talking about Core Values.

Remember that your career decision is on a macro- and micro-level: Choosing the career field you will pursue, and the jobs within that career field. Even on a more micro-level, this self-knowledge will help you decide which assignments, projects, or committees you volunteer for – or you ask your boos to assign you to.

Today, I want to talk about your core values…what is most important to you in an employer, a work environment, and the specific work you’re doing.

Identifying these “non-negotiable” values helps you align your career choices with what is most important to you. And alignment increases your chances for career success, higher compensation, and greater satisfaction.

If you’re interested in doing a values sort activity, I recommend you opt-in into my 5-day course, “Finding Your Professional Purpose.” Here’s the URL: http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/professional-purpose-five-day-course/

In this activity, you go through a list of values and determine where each value falls for you, Least Important through Most Important. You are forced to minimize the number of values in each column so that you come up with a maximum of 10 that are Most Important to you.

How to Use this Information

-If there is a career or specific job you are considering, evaluate it against your core values to determine how well it meshes with your values.

-If you are exploring careers, look for those that hold your most important values. No matter how many “niceties” the career might have, if it doesn’t offer the values you hold most important, you won’t be satisfied.

Note that some of your values may apply to a career as a whole; other values may be job-specific. For example, “Using physical strength/coordination” is a universal value for a career in physical therapy. Within the career of physical therapy, however, some jobs may satisfy a value of “work on a team,” whereas other jobs may be geared more towards a value of “opportunity to work independently.”

The Values

Here are a few of the values on the Values activity:

 –Utilize physical strength and coordination

-Utilize creativity and originality

-Opportunity for advancement

-Receive recognition for accomplishments

-Higher than average financial rewards

-Ability to help and serve others

-Close relationships with co-workers

-Opportunity to work independently

-Good relationship with manager

-Ability to complete tasks with autonomy

-Flexibility in work hours and schedule

-Work on a team

-Quality, luxurious surroundings

-Earnings directly tied to your contribution

-A quiet workspace

-Opportunity to travel frequently

-Variety of work tasks

-Having a fixed set of tasks

-Working on multiple projects simultaneously

-Working on one project at a time

-A competitive work environment

-Work that mentally challenges you

-Receive clear instructions

A Few Examples

Let’s play out a couple of examples. Let’s say your 5 top values are:

-Utilize physical strength and coordination

-Utilize courage and take risks

-Respond to problems or emergencies

-Unstructured, open environment

-Opportunity to travel frequently

Does this sound like the values of an accountant? A school teacher? A writer? What comes to mind is someone who takes groups out on extreme vacations…hiking, rafting, horseback riding.

See how these values play into that career choice? Here’s another example:

Someone’s top 5 values are:

-Ability to exert power and influence

-Higher than average financial rewards

-Competitive work environment

-Work that mentally challenges you

-Quality, luxurious surroundings

These would be ideal values for someone entering the field of law, particularly in private practice (their value of higher than average financial rewards might not be satisfied working for the DA’s office, and they probably wouldn’t have quality, luxurious surroundings there, either).

There are no right or wrong answers here, and there are an infinite number of values.

These values then become one of the yardsticks by which you measure a career field and job opportunities within that field. It helps you not be swayed by other things that are nice enough – but not one of your Core Values.

For example, if one of your Core Values is having a quiet workspace…you know you won’t be able to do your job without a fair amount of solitude.

You interview for a job and learn that your office will be the first one in the door. People will be sticking their heads in all day every day, and you are the first line of defense when there’s a problem.

You have a couple of options: You can decline the job if it’s offered or you can negotiate a different location for your office.

To optin to my FREE 5-day course that includes a Values activity: http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/professional-purpose-five-day-course/