The Personal Foundation of Your Career
In a recent survey, employers were asked, "What advice would you give to students as they begin to select a career?" The most frequent reply was, "Know yourself." The fundamental steps in discovering your call and in planning your life and career are learning about God and learning about yourself. Self-awareness comes from identifying and analyzing the personal factors involved in your call and very first step in planning your life and career, and in analyzing and integrating the personal factors involved in defining your call and choosing a career path. From that beginning, a job search is simply a marketing campaign with yourself as the product or service being promoted. In order to sell yourself to an employer or a graduate or professional school, you must understand yourself well.
Talents and Strengths
A core dimension in discerning and fulfilling your call and career is to discover your core talents, develop them as strengths, and find ways to employ the most important among your strengths in your work. Pioneering work in the discovery of talents and strengths has been done by the Gallup Organization, under the leadership of Drs. Don Clifton and Chip Anderson. LeTourneau University earned a competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE), administered under auspices of the Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), enabling us to assist students in the discovery and understanding of their talents and strengths. The Gallup StrengthsFinder (SF) and Clifton and Anderson’s StrengthsQuest materials provide means for students to discover the nature and meaning of their top strengths. This can help you discover whom God has created and called you to be, and what you are created, called and empowered to do - the essence of self-discovery in fulfilling your call and establishing your career.
A dominant factor correlated with career satisfaction is personal interests. Generally, people like doing what interests them. God has created you with patterns of interest that correspond to God’s call on your life and that are integral to the career path that best expresses that call. The assessment instruments available through Career Services provide essential information about factors of interest; and Career Services consultation can help you integrate that information with other factors in order to articulate, then achieve, your unique calling and career plan.
Worldview and Work Valuess
LeTourneau University seeks to enable each student to frame, articulate, and learn to apply a consistent worldview that has integrity. The world of work will require you to apply a system of moral principles guiding how you conduct your business, relate to other people, and decide what is right and wrong. All organizations operate from an ethical framework and it is essential to find an organization compatible with your framework. When your work behavior is consistent with your ethics, you have achieved integrity. A work value is a principle related to worth, excellence, importance; a quality you hold in high regard. Your value system is expressed daily through your living and working. Is it important for you to work where cooperation is important or do you like competition? Do you need creativity and self-expression in your work? Is financial gain important? Are you willing to take risks? The most important factor in your career decisions will be the values by which you choose to live. Career Services encourages you to examine them carefully and will provide guidance and counsel to help you do it!
A skilled person is able to do some things very well because of talent, training, and practice. Some skills are very job specific while others may be transferred from one job to another. For example, self-management and time-management skills help you relate to others and perform a job successfully, and are useful in a wide range of specific work situations. Your skills can be discovered in part by examining your past accomplishments. Which skills do you use now, which do you want to continue to use, and which would you like to develop more? Career Services can help you articulate and integrate your core skills.
God's sovereignty imparts spiritual gifts, and the discovery and application of these gifts glorifies God and is deeply rewarding both to the individuals who express the gifts and to the groups which benefit from the gifted persons’ applications of these gifts. Career Services offers help in discerning and integrating spiritual gifts in the process of planning and carrying through your call and career.
Talents and Strengths
It is important to consider how you want to spend your off-the-job time. Non-work activities have their own rewards and a well-formed understanding of your call and career integrates consideration of how these elements interact with other factors in exploring career options. Other living environment factors will be your preference for geographical surroundings, climate, community size, proximity to friends and family, income needs, physical limitations, and educational opportunities.