Posted November 01, 2010 by

On Job Action Day 2010, Focus on Your Competencies, Interests, and Values

Thanks to the good folks at, today is Job Action Day and that means that dozens of career bloggers are contributing content to help job seekers worldwide find their next great job.

I’ve known Randall and Kathy Hansen of for a decade and they’re two of the smartest, thoughtful, and caring leaders you’ll ever meet. The creation and promotion of this event is a perfect example. They could create the same content that the contributing bloggers do, but the Hansens know that they can make a bigger impact by getting more people involved as many and probably most users of do not overlap with the users of and the same goes for the other Job Action Day contributors. So by galvanizing dozens, they reach tens of thousands and perhaps even hundreds of thousands of additional job seekers.

But enough hugs and kisses. What content am I contributing to Job Action Day 2010? I’m going to focus on what I believe to be the three primary factors that job seekers should use when deciding what type of job to go after. Many, many job seekers — especially less experienced ones like many of those using — don’t fully appreciate that their choice of a career path or a job within that career path should not be determined by how much money they can make or even what they’re good at. Rather, their decision should be driven by three factors:

  1. Competencies – What are you good at?
  2. Interests – What do you like to do?
  3. Values – What is important to you?

Too many job seekers look for work in an area that lines up well with one or perhaps even two of the above but not all three. When that happens, the result tends to be failure.

The job seeker may end up failing on the job because their skills don’t line up well with the work. In short, they just aren’t competent at what they’re trying to do. I’m taller than the average guy, but at a shade below six feet one inch and not terribly well coordinated, I’m in no danger of playing in the National Basketball Association. So even if I really love playing basketball and playing at the highest possible level is important to me, I’m not going to succeed if I were to try out for an NBA team.

Having a strong interest in your career path is equally as important. Someone who has immense talent (competencies) and values the contributions they can make on the basketball court may make an NBA team and perhaps even play well, but they’ll likely be frustrated and quickly disillusioned by their chosen career path if they don’t like the game.

Similarly, it is also important to value your career path. You may be highly competent and interested in playing in the NBA but if you don’t value the contributions that you make to the game or that the game makes to you then you’re going to be bored and quickly looking for the next best thing. You sometimes see this in young athletes that quit their game far too early. Many fans scratch their heads and wonder how someone with so much talent and who performs at such a high level can just walk away from all that fame and money. The reason is they don’t value that fame or money. Other things in life are more important to them and they should be given credit for recognizing that life is too short to spend years working at something that just doesn’t matter.

So when you’re looking at a job opportunity or even a career path, don’t just focus on your skills or what you like or what you care about. Focus on all three. It is often said that three’s a crowd but when you’re talking about competencies, interests, and values, three is a necessity.

Please check out these blog posts that are joining mine in supporting Job Action Day 2010:

You can also find Job Action Day 2010 posts on these blogs:

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