The steps of the positioning process form the structure of this book. Each step includes a question that summarizes the goal of that step; these are the questions you will be trying to answer as you go about the positioning process. Some of the questions are very similar to the questions that are traditionally asked of applicants during interviews. However, they take on a different meaning when applied to the concept of positioning because you are asking them of yourself.
Proximity Is Everything . . . Well, Almost Everything
Where do I want to work?
Positioning starts with determining where you want to work, or your career goal, if you know what it is. Because most people have trouble delineating their career goal, the emphasis at this point is on the immediate goal of determining your next job. Then it is a question of positioning yourself close to the people, job, and organization that will advance you in fulfilling your career goal. When you ask yourself, Where do I want to work? you are already in the process of moving toward the position you seek. Chapter 2 walks you through the process of answering this question and provides examples of people who have successfully positioned themselves.
Being Proactive, not Reactive
Do I actively seek the job I want, or do I wait for it to come to me?
Attitude is a vital component of positioning. A proactive person has a curious attitude and finds out what needs to be done and then does it rather than waiting to be told what to do. When I sought a position in western Maryland, my actions suggested to others that I had a proactive attitude. In turn, when you seek a field experience or internship, you are demonstrating a proactive attitude. For the most part, the job search process associated with the traditional model is reactive, whereas the job search process associated with the positioning model is very proactive. As the question suggests, in the traditional model, you wait for the job to come to you. You wait for the organization to advertise the job, and then you apply for it. Chapter 3 applies the principles of being proactive to your career development. Don’t get upset if you don’t view yourself as a proactive person. By following the positioning model and the techniques described in this book, you will become more proactive in your job search. An added bonus is that people who are proactive get better positions, promotions, and advancements.
Why should they hire me?
How do you prepare yourself for your next job? Whether you use the traditional or positioning model, you will find chapter 4 unlike any other in most career development books because it approaches the job search process by starting at the end of the process, evaluation. This chapter provides an insight into the link between the evaluation instrument (the documents and rubrics hiring organizations use to evaluate candidates for employment) and the job description. You will also learn how your application will be evaluated in the traditional model. With this insight comes key knowledge of how to prepare for eventual employment. The chapter also shows how to use job announcements to determine the knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences (KSAEs) you will need in order to prepare yourself for your next job. By starting your career development at the end, with evaluation, you are actually starting at the beginning.
Am I prepared for the job I seek?
If you are on one side of a river and want to get to the other side, you build a bridge. You don’t sit there and watch the water flow by. In chapter 4, you first determine the knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences you need for the job you seek. Then you develop a plan to obtain them. Bridging is the process of obtaining the appropriate skills for your desired job, whether it is a new job (horizontal bridging) or a promotion (vertical bridging). Chapter 5 describes several bridging techniques and offers advice on developing the KSAEs you need for your next job. It starts with the selection of your major and includes obtaining field experiences, internships, and even summer jobs. Professional development is also discussed.