Thursday October 31, 2013 | 08:30 AM
Posted by Barbara Babkirk

If you’ve ever been in a job search, well-meaning friends or colleagues have certainly asked you this question.

While, “I don’t really know”, may be an accurate reply, it will not move the conversation in the right direction to receiving appropriate contacts or job leads.

If you are not clear about your job target, you’ll need to figure out a good response or you’ll be likely to avoid opportunities for networking and leave important contacts without accurate information about how they might assist you in your transition.

Answering the question “what do you want to do” does not require naming a specific job title or position as you might have believed. In fact, in these days of quirky job titles, it could eliminate options if you named the wrong one.

Instead of a job title, focus on your key competencies in order to steer the conversation toward positions where your skills and strengths align. Having examples of times when you have demonstrated these competencies may come in handy if the person with whom you are speaking wants to know more—so be prepared.

If you are considering a significant career shift, it will take several conversation about the skills required in specific fields or jobs in order to make the link between you and new options.


About this Blog

Barbara Babkirk is a Master Career Counselor and founder of Heart At Work Associates, a career counseling and outplacement firm in Portland.

With a focused and intuitive approach, Barbara makes a difference in people’s lives by helping them design a new life chapter. She has a successful record guiding career transitions for professionals ranging from executives and artists to attorneys and entrepreneurs.

An expert in her field, Barbara is a public speaker on work-related topics writes a solutions-oriented column about work for the Portland Sunday Telegram.


Scott Woodard is a career coach with Heart At Work Associates, a career counseling and outplacement business in Portland, Maine.

Scott works with clients to identify and articulate their value and their personal brand. He helps clients develop clear, concise and crisp messaging to convey their particular difference, their achievements and their approach.

Scott coaches clients to market their brand through social media platforms, especially LinkedIn. He offers monthly workshops on how to make the most of LinkedIn for businesses or job seekers.

Previous entries

April 2014

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December 2013

November 2013


October 2013

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August 2013

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