Starting Out

Four career questions

Getting the right job is about knowing yourself first

Several years ago, I wrote a "Starting Out" column for Fraud Magazine [ Federal Job Search Strategies (Part 1): Landing the Right Position is Almost a Full-time Job, July/August 2010] that described how to conduct an effective job search for fraud examiner positions. I wrote that column because I kept getting asked for advice from young CFEs, students and recent graduates and eventually found that I kept asking them the same four questions. It's important to remember these questions and answer them honestly to get the best result for any career search.

The fall semester is about to begin and for many college seniors, it brings them smack against a new reality — the need to find a job after graduation! Today's job market is competitive, but there are a number of ways to alleviate your job search and get you thinking about the next steps in your post-college job search.

Before you begin your résumé and draft cover letters, you need to do a self-assessment and ask yourself four questions. Your honest answers will help you move into the next phase of your job hunt. (These questions are also important for new CFEs and those looking to change careers.)

Self-assessments are important because they help you orient yourself and give you a sense of where you are, where you've been and where you'd like to go. It also helps if you're brutally honest with yourself. By not giving yourself full credit (or conversely, giving yourself too much credit) for what you've done and what you'd like to be doing, it can actually harm you in the long run.

The four questions

Ask yourself these four questions and it will give you a good starting point to evaluate where you are, where you want to go and how to chart a course to get there.

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