4 Steps to Create Your Next Success

Posted by Patra Frame

SuccessWhen people start looking for a new position, most often they think of one-up or lateral jobs and pull out an old resume to update. Few of us have a really certain idea of what we want to be when we grow up, even in mid-career. And don’t get me started about “passion” or “if you could do anything, what would it be” advice types. If I could be anything I would be in a penthouse reading books with my jet at the ready for spontaneous travel. Meanwhile, here in the real world, you need a job that offers work you want with a decent environment and paycheck.

Let’s start your job search – or renew it if you have not yet found the right place – with a more effective approach to what’s next. These steps offer a path forward with specific exercises to help you assess your past effectively.

Start with a new page on your laptop, or better yet for creativity a blank notebook, rather than focusing on your old resume or job title. Think strategy now. Tactics come later.

You can check out our other blog posts and videos for translating these into tactics for marketing yourself once you know what work you really want to consider next.


a. Exercise: What’s important

Create a list of 8-12 things which you get from your work (not including pay and benefits) which are important to you.

Examples: use newest technology, respect of peers, foreign travel, professional development options, big fish in little pond, recognition, reputation of employer. This list becomes a key part of what you will look for in a new opportunity.

b. Exercise: Ask yourself these questions

  • What do you enjoy doing each day, are good at, and want to do next?
  • What really matters to you in your life, career, and finances?
  • What work environment, culture, and values do you need to be successful and fulfilled?

There are a variety of ‘values’ exercises online which can help you think clearly about the second two questions above. Here is a good, short one from MIT.

Then consider what the answers in a and b above mean.

  • What do these exercises tell you about the type of jobs and organization culture you need to succeed?
  • What do you need to do now to set yourself up for continued success?


Exercise: Think about your past work successes. Identify at least 7-9 such times you felt great about an achievement and make notes about each.

  • What was the situation/task you faced,
  • What did you do, and
  • What were the results?

Yes, this is the STAR method that will soon yield great bullet points for your resume plus answers to interview questions later in your job search. So take your time. Write these out. Take a couple of passes through this material over a few days to be sure you have captured all your important successes.

Then, look for patterns in your successes.

  • What skills, knowledge, attitude did you use?
  • What can those successes tell you about your strengths?

Once you have completed the exercise, take a second look. Go through all your old resumes and performance reviews and any other work history you have to be sure you have captured all your successes. Most of us only think of more recent ones when we do an exercise like this. That limits your future.


Exercise: Think about how you see yourself and how that impacts your success.

  • When you meet someone new at work, what do you tell them about yourself?
  • What do you find exciting about your work? Your current/past jobs? Your life?
  • What five or six activities do you really love to actually DO in your work?
  • What would you hope other people would say to describe you to someone?
  • Who relies on you for information? Advice? Assistance? Support? Mentoring?

Once you have reviewed all the information you developed in completing these three steps, take a blank page and begin to describe your very best work ideas based on the data.

  • What type of work do you want to do next?
  • What type of environment do you need to succeed?
  • How will you find and assess employers to target based on their values and goals and culture?

Once you have spent the time and thought to fully complete all the steps and exercises above. evaluate which are your best ideas and move on to Step 4.


Talk to people who know you well about your ideas and interests. See what they confirm. Ask each for other skills and strengths, ideas or suggestions based on their knowledge of your work.

Go to ClearedJobs.Net and plug in some of the skills you want to use most often into the search function. Take a look at 45-60 jobs that come up and pick out your top 15-20 for in-depth review.

  • Which look most interesting once you have done that?
  • How well do you currently meet the requirements for such jobs?
  • What’s missing – are there other skills or experiences you need?
  • Are you certain you do not already have some of those from past jobs or volunteer work or education?

Tap into your connections and talk with some people who know the specific jobs which interest you. Do they see you as a viable candidate for the jobs you seek -why or why not?  What, if any, other ideas can each suggest? What can each tell you about potential employers which may be a good match for you?

Assess what you hear from each person you talk with. You may get a bit defensive about some inputs and thrilled about others. But do think your way through all that you hear and evaluate it as clearly as you can. Make adjustments if needed then based on your assessment of what you have learned from others.

In Summary

Use everything you have learned to plot your course. Then you can start actual job search activities and effectively market yourself. Taking the time to do these activities early in your search will save you time and energy. More importantly, they will lead to a far better outcome of your search – a job where you can really do work you enjoy and succeed in the right place.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 8:35 am

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