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/




Which Areas of Expertise Are Most In-Demand Right Now?

In-Demand Areas of Expertise  

This week’s podcast talks about identifying your Areas of Expertise.

I like to think of Areas of Expertise as being specialties within a Skill Set.

For example, one of your Motivated Skills (what you’re really good at AND love to do) is Management and Supervision, which is defined as “Skilled at overseeing, managing, and directing the work of others. Able to motivate individuals to perform at their peak level. ”

You have had the opportunity in your job to supervise the summer college interns for three years, which you excel at and enjoy doing. You now have the Area of Expertise of “Supervising College Interns.”

See how that works?

What’s in Demand?

Let’s talk about some of the most in-demand Areas of Expertise. Not surprisingly, many are in the tech area:


Cloud Computing

Applied Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence

Data Science

Mobile Application Development

Data Storage Systems and Management

Middleware and Integration Software

Web Architecture

Algorithm Design

Java Development

Tableau Software

User Experience Design

C++ Programming

MySQL Programming

Swift Development

Chat Support

Android Development

Unity 3D Game Development


Within Marketing, the areas in demand are also tech-based:

Digital Advertising

Content Curation

Online Content Strategy

Digital Monitoring and Analytics

Marketing Automation

Pardot Marketing (I don’t actually know what this is)


Another frequently mentioned Skillset is multiculturalism. What is the Area of Expertise you can develop within that broad skill?

Being a PMP (Project Management Professional) is a highly desired certification. If you choose to obtain (or already hold) the PMP designation, what Area of Expertise can you specialize in?


Skills in Demand

The Top 5 skills at the top 10 companies, according to one list, are:





Customer Service

Think about the Areas of Expertise you can develop within those broad skill sets.

To listen to this week’s podcast, “Identifying Your Areas of Expertise,” click here:

054: What are You REALLY Good At? (Areas of Expertise)




054: What are You REALLY Good At? (Areas of Expertise)

Areas of Expertise

So far this month, I’ve talked about how to incorporate knowledge of your Motivated Skills, personality preferences, and Core Values into your career decision. Today’s topic is “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.

Connecting Areas of Expertise with Motivated Skills

I want to connect these Areas of Expertise with your Motivated Skills because they are closely related. Let’s say 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.”

Here’s another example: One of your Motivated Skills is Planning, which is defined as “The ability to plan and develop a program or project through organized and systematic preparation and arrangement of tasks and schedules.”

In your job as an Office Manager, you have the opportunity to coordinate other people’s schedules, come up with more efficient systems and processes, plan the work of others in the office, and even manage a major project. Your Areas of Expertise become “Coordinating Schedules,” “Project Management,” and “Supervising Employees.”

One more: One of your Motivated Skills is Teaching, which is defined as “The ability to explain complex ideas or principles in an understandable manner; able to provide knowledge or insight to individuals or groups.”

However, becoming a school teacher was not of interest to you…so you looked for alternative ways you could teach others. In your job, you were able to volunteer as the safety officer for your department, giving monthly safety talks and demonstrations to the employees.

Your Area of Expertise becomes “Safety Training.”

See how this works? The Motivated Skill is broader, and the Area of Expertise is a particular subset of that Skill you’ve developed.

How do you Become an Expert?

What makes something an Area of Expertise for you? It’s when you have a better-than-average grasp of that thing…at least initially. You’ll find that as you progress through your career, your Expertise will become more pronounced…to the point where others are calling you “the Expert in _____”

Once again, if you haven’t grabbed my 5-day course on “Finding Your Professional Purpose,” I highly encourage it, as day 2 of the course gives you a Motivated Skills Activity. The URL:   http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/professional-purpose-five-day-course/

A Challenge

Here’s my challenge for you: Identify your Motivated Skills, then do one of two things depending on where you are in your career:

If you are entry-level, identify a potential Area of Expertise you would LIKE to develop for each of your Motivated Skills. Bonus points if you’re willing to schedule time for the first step in acquiring that Area of Expertise.

Here’s an example: One of your Motivated Skills is “Creative or Imaginative with Ideas,” which is defined as “Using imagination to create new ideas, projects, or programs; able to conceive existing elements in new ways.”

What aspect of creativity do you a) want to become an expert in, and 2) can do in your current job?

Let’s say you decide you want to develop your graphic design skills. You studied a little bit in college and found it fun; there’s no one else in the office with that Area of Expertise, and there’s a need for it.

You volunteer to take on some graphics projects for the office, then a few more, and then a few more…next thing you know, you’re the office expert in graphic art.

If you are a more experienced worker, identify an Area of Expertise you HAVE developed for each of your Motivated Skills. Bonus points for you if you can identify a way to take that Area of Expertise deeper in your current job.

You can also develop your Areas of Expertise outside of work through volunteering with civic or professional organizations, or charities with a cause you are passionate about. Areas of Expertise often emerge as side hustles in the more entrepreneurial among us. It sure did for me – and then it became my business.

The URL for the 5-day “Finding Your Professional Purpose” course again is  http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/professional-purpose-five-day-course/




051: Identifying Your Motivated Skills

Identifying Your Motivated Skills

For the last quarter of 2018, my podcast and blog theme is “Making Crucial Career Decisions.” This month, we’ll be drilling down on your skills, personality preferences, core values, and expertise. Each of these things can, and should, play a role in your career decisions.

Keep in mind that, whenever I talk about career decisions, I am speaking on a macro- and micro-level. The macro level is this: Does the career path you’re considering allow you to make optimal use of your skills and expertise? Does your personality type mesh with this career? Does this career fit within your most critical values?

On the micro-level, you are looking at particular job opportunities within that career. Keep in mind that, while a career may fit with your personality and values, etc., a particular job may not. The more you know about yourself, the more aware you will be of what is most important to you…I call them your non-negotiables.

Defining Motivated Skills

Today’s topic is “Identifying Your Motivated Skills.” Let’s start with a definition.

Motivated Skills are 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 because 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 the skills you are very good at, but DON’T get any 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.

Take the Assessment

If you’re interested in taking a Motivated Skills assessment, I recommend you opt-in to my 5-day course, “Finding Your Professional Purpose.” Day 2 includes Motivated Skills and Values activities.

To optin: http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/professional-purpose-five-day-course/

Here’s how the Motivated Skills activity works: First, you sort each skill by your skill level with it. A “5” means you have a superior skill level; a “1” means you have little or no skill.

Next, you sort those same skills by your Motivation Level. A “5” is Superior enjoyment in using that skill; a “1” means you are completely unmotivated to use that skill.

The idea is to come up with a core list of just 5-6 Motivated Skills. Any more than that, and you are unlikely to find a career or job that includes them all…and you may sacrifice the most important ones for those that aren’t quite as essential to you. Any fewer than that, and you may be lacking in self-awareness…you just haven’t lived enough, or been present enough, to know what you like and don’t like.

Why This Matters

Let’s talk about why knowing what your Motivated Skills are is so important. Obviously, you want this information to inform your career decisions on the macro- and micro-level; knowing your Motivated Skills will also help you answer some of the tough interview questions you’ll likely get asked.

Even within a job, knowing your Motivated Skills will help you make intelligent decisions about projects, committees, and assignments you volunteer for.

Of course, sometimes you don’t get to pick these things. However, by letting your boss know what your Motivated Skills are, he will be far more likely to put you on projects, committees, and assignments that align with those skills. After all, you doing a great job makes him look great…so it’s a win-win.

The Alternative

What’s the alternative to identifying, and capitalizing on, your Motivated Skills? Here are five downfalls:

-You don’t find fulfillment in your work…that soul-satisfying need to do what you were put on this earth to do.

-You don’t excel in your work…thereby limiting your potential to move up (which you don’t really want to do anyway…at least not in that career).

-You jump from job to job, not realizing what’s really wrong.

-Your dissatisfaction at work bleeds over into the other 2/3 of your life…it impacts your personal relationships and your sleep suffers.

-People who need what you were put on this earth to do miss receiving that from you. If this sounds esoteric, I promise you…this is what it’s all about.

What are these Skills?

I hope I’m made a compelling case for identifying and capitalizing on your Motivated Skills. So what are these skills anyway?

There are general categories of Motivated Skills, under which you’ll find several sub-categories.

Under the general heading of Communication Skills, you have skills in all forms of communication including verbal, written, presentation, sales, and negotiation. This group of skills involves the transfer of information in an accurate, persuasive way.

For Marketing, Public Relations, and Customer Service Skills, there is a wide range of skills that include being at ease in social settings, the ability to identify customer needs and preferences, and the ability to translate objective feedback into self-improvement and self-identify deficiencies to improve performance.

The general heading of Quantitative Analysis Skills includes computer skills and the ability to compile and analyze numerical data.

Under the general heading of Analytical Research Skills are scientific curiosity, research, and the ability to understand and use engineering or industrial principles, tools, and equipment to improve processes, services, or products.

Technical Reasoning Skills include mechanical and spatial reasoning, working outdoors in a technical capacity such as construction, environmental, or landscape projects, managing operations, or gathering technical or environmental data. Technical Reasoning Skills also include technical problem-solving or troubleshooting.

Creativity and Innovation Skills is the ability to use color and shapes to create visually pleasing images and to create new ideas and forms with existing objects. It also includes the ability to use imagination to create new ideas, projects, or programs.

Under the general heading of Teaching, Training, Instructing, or Counseling Skills: These are pretty self-explanatory. You are conveying information to an individual or audience in a teaching/training/instructing capacity, or you are counseling people to improve some aspect of their lives.

The final grouping is Project Management, Leadership, and Motivation Skills. These include managing and directing the work of others, motivating people to perform at their peak level, planning programs or projects, organizing people, data, or objects, and making decisions. It also includes the ability to manage detail-oriented tasks.

Again, I highly recommend opting in for my free 5-day course so you can take my Motivated Skills sort activity. That URL again is http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/professional-purpose-five-day-course/




Skills and Values Employers Are Looking For

I came across an article on LiveCareer entitled “14 Skills and Values Employers Seek in Jobseekers,” and I wanted to share it with you.

  1. Professionalism. The article talks about “acting in a responsible and fair manner in all your personal and work activities, which is seen as a sign of maturity and self-confidence.”
  2. Honesty and Integrity. There have been a lot of very public corporate scandals stemming from employees’ lack of honesty and integrity, which has made this quality highly valued by employers.
  3. Adaptability. The article speaks of “openness to new ideas and concepts, to working independently or as part of a team, and to carrying out multiple tasks or projects.”
  4. Problem-Solving. As someone who has supervised many employees, one of the most important things I looked for was employees who would not just come to me with a problem, but at least one possible solution to that problem.
  5. Dependability/Reliability/Responsibility. This one’s pretty simple, but so important. Arrive on time and own up to your mistakes.
  6. Loyalty. “Employers want employees who will have a strong devotion to the company, even at times when the company is not necessarily loyal to its employees.”
  7. Positive Attitude/Motivated/Energy/Passion. As opposed to those highly desirable job candidates who are negative, unmotivated, sluggish, and dead inside. Yep.
  8. Self-Confidence. “If you don’t believe in yourself, in your unique mix of skills, education, and abilities, why should a prospective employer? Be confident in yourself and what you can offer employers.”
  9. Self-Motivated/Ability to Work Without Direct Supervision. The flip side of being a team player is the ability to get your work done without anyone standing over your shoulder.
  10. Willingness to Learn. You must show a willingness to learn new skills, job duties, and ways of working.
  11. Leadership/Management Skills. Although the article groups these together, I see them as distinctly different skill sets. Management speaks to the day-to-day operations of a business unit, and managing the work of those in that unit. Leadership speaks to determining the direction of a unit, and making sure that direction is followed. Leading a team involves charisma, vision, and passion.
  12. Multicultural Sensitivity/Awareness. “There is possibly no bigger issue in the workplace than diversity, and job seekers must demonstrate a sensitivity and awareness to other people and cultures.”
  13. Planning and Organizational Skills. In addition to designing, planning, organizing, and implementing projects and tasks, it also involves goal-setting.
  14. Teamwork. So many jobs today involves work groups, and your ability to contribute fully within work groups is extremely important.

Interested in a deep dive with me? Register for my next webinar. In addition to great content, you’ll have the opportunity to ask me questions and even get coached by me live! Here’s the link to find out about this month’s topic, date, and time: click here


ALSO: During the month of August, I’m hosting a giveaway to shamelessly promote my podcast. You get points for rating, reviewing, and subscribing, as well as liking Facebook business page (Exclusive Career Coaching), following my LinkedIn business page, and following me on Instagram.

I’m giving away a $260 gift that includes 3, $50 gift certificates, a really cool computer bag, pen, umbrella, and computer/phone charger.

Here’s the link to enter: