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Setting Your Direction

Writing your resume is not the first step in your job search. You will find out in the next chapter that your resume is your sales brochure or your ad and that the purpose of your resume is to get a phone call from a potential employer.
So why wouldn’t we want to start there? After all, isn’t our purpose to sell ourselves and don’t we need a resume to do that?
Yes, you have to sell yourself but your resume, like any ad, has to be written within the framework of an overall strategy or marketing plan.
In most cases each of us has to lean back and take stock of who we are and where we are going.
At a minimum we need to consider our career direction, our strengths and our accomplishments so that we can sell ourselves properly. But most of us have not looked at where we are and where we are going for a long time. Now is the time to do that and insure that we set the right course – that we are headed the right direction.
What we are seeking to do is far more than getting a job and a regular paycheck. We need to find a position that fits our skills so we can do the job successfully. We need to find a job that taps into our strengths and interests, one that motivates us to do our best, one that moves us along in the career that is best for us.
This job will be located at the intersection of what you can do and what you want to do. We call this area your Motivation Zone.
The goals of a company cannot be identical to your goals. But they can mesh with your goals. Just as the fingers of your right hand can mesh with the fingers of your left hand, your goals can mesh with the goals of the right career position.
This is the kind of fit you are looking for in your next position.
The goals of a company cannot be identical to your goals. But they can mesh with your goals. Just as the fingers of your right hand can mesh with the fingers of your left hand, your goals can mesh with the goals of the right career position. This is the kind of fit you are looking for in your next position.

Your Motivation Zone

Below is a diagram of how your interests and skills, while not being identical, do overlap. The focus of this chapter is to help you to find the overlapping area and identify your motivation zone.

Your Motivation zone includes those tasks which “Interest” you and which you have the necessary “Skill” to perform.
The degree of overlap is different for each of us. Those whose interests and skills overlap the greatest will find it much easier to determine their Motivation Zone. Most of us will find it more difficult, but we can all find the zone with some effort.
Any job which does not interest us will not Motivate us. Any job which we are interested in but for which we have no talent or skill will be a source of frustration and we will not succeed.
You will succeed in jobs in your Motivation Zone because you have the skills and you enjoy it. These are the jobs that you will enjoy and that you are good at doing. This is where you find the jobs you want to go to in the morning – rather different than jobs which you can’t wait to get away from at the end of the day.

Targeted Jobs

But there probably are not job/careers available for the entire area of your Motivation Zone. You must focus on those jobs that do exist and are available.

Jobs in your Targeted Area will be the jobs that motivate you and are available.
Don’t be tempted to pursue a position that is outside this area. Many people later regret having taken a job because it pays more or for some other reason. If it does not fall inside your Motivation Zone you cannot expect it to be very satisfying.


There are several exercises in this chapter to help you determine the boundaries of your Motivation Zone. This information will help in setting the direction for your search, writing your resume, networking, interviewing and evaluating job offers.
The links will open an MS Word file in a new window. In some cases there are lines that will not be visible until you print the document.
Exercise 1 helps you discover perhaps long forgotten interests and motivations.
Exercise 2 helps you to recall what you liked and disliked about recent jobs. This gives you direction for setting requirements for your next job, things you want as well as things you may want to avoid.
Exercise 3 helps you to identify additional motivated skills that you have applied on the job in the past. This exercise will also be the start of the framework for developing the accomplishments you will put in your resume. It will also better focus on the motivated skills you want to use in your next job.
Exercise 4 is a loose structure to bring all this information together in a useable framework. If you have information from other assessment exercises, bring it to the table as you work on this exercise.
By the time you have completed all the exercises you will have a good sense of the direction your job search should take.
You will also have a valuable checklist, from the fourth exercise, to help you analyze a job offer. Too often, when an offer is received, little analysis of the offer is made. Too often there are many pressures and emotions making analysis difficult – however, the framework you construct in the fourth exercise will be a valuable tool to effectively evaluate offers when they come.

Job Search
CEN News

St. Gerard Majella

Career Development Series
The Benefits of Using a Recruiting Firm in Your Job Search
When: February 20, 7:15-8:30pm
Where: St Gerard Majella
Catholic Church Building 2005,
Parish Meeting Room 224
1971 Dougherty Ferry Rd
St.Louis, MO 63122
Please join us at our next Career Development Workshop, where Craig Lavelle will discuss the benefits of using a recruiting firm in your job search.  He will also provide key insights into:
  1. Job interview preparation
  2. How to avoid 7 interview mistakes
  3. Likeability factors and interest level in a job search
  4. Sample behavioral questions.
Craig is Vice President, Permanent Placement Services at Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a division of Robert Half International (RHI), the world's largest specialized staffing firm.  The specialized staffing divisions of RHI place professionals in accounting and finance; technology; office administration; law; and the creative, marketing and design fields. Craig has been with Robert Half for 15 years.  He is an experienced recruiter and business consultant whose primary focus is helping both candidates and clients achieve their respective career goals and organizational recruiting needs.  Prior to joining RHI, Craig received his Bachelor’s Degree from Saint Louis University and spent 20 years in various accounting roles, including the President and CEO of Gimbel Vision in Calgary Alberta Canada. We hope you will join us so we can continue to help and support each other!  If you have questions, please contact us at  There is never any cost for our service.

Holy Spirit

CEN welcomes Holy Spirit, Maryland Heights, as their newest CEN parish, offering support for employment seekers. If you are looking for work or would like to volunteer your help for our newest startup, contact Jeff Pattison, 314-853-6197.

CEN Parish Support

All job seekers are invited to contact any CEN parish for job support information. Just check links under Parishes.