The key takeaway for anyone embarking upon a job search? Understanding the mutual importance of 1) achieving self-awareness, and 2) conducting industry/company research:

  • Self-awareness enables you to take stock of your key value creating activities and business passions.

  • Industry/company research enables you to tailor your job search activities in a strategic fashion.

If you know yourself and your target employers well, the likelihood of a good match goes up.

What does it mean to develop a personal career strategy?

Many professionals seek to acquire new knowledge, skills and network contacts so they can create new value and advance in their career. The career motivations of individuals will vary; consider the following definitions:

  • A “Career Explorer” is someone who is satisfied with their current pace of career progress, and they are interested in looking at a variety of potential future roles, but they are not necessarily ready to make a change now .
  • A “Career Accelerator” is someone who seeks to advance in their current career more quickly than their current pace of advancement.
  • A “Career Switcher” is someone who is interested in changing their career.
  • An “Entrepreneur/Founder” is someone who is interested in running (or planning to start) their own business.
  • A “Retiree” is someone who has reached the “giving back/paying it forward” stage of their career.


A career is a series of jobs or occupations undertaken for a significant period of a person’s working life and with opportunities for progress/advancement.

What books can you recommend before I begin my career planning?

What are the seven steps for developing a personal career strategy?

01. Self-Assessment

Consider your interests, skills, values, personality, strengths, passions, and convictions in order to discern and understand what is truly important to you with respect to your career aspirations.

  • Complete a free career interests assessment such as the O*Net Interest Profiler, or a fee-based career interests assessment such as CareerLeader.
  • Ask people in your network who you trust what your employability strengths and weaknesses are.

02. Industry/Company Research

Explore a wide range of industries, companies, functional areas, and job roles.

  • You can review job descriptions on job list sites like,, or in order to get a sense of what is available. But, please understand that jobs that are advertised online routinely receive hundreds of applications. This usually means that the best job opportunities are unadvertised and discovered through your network and/or by working with a professional recruiter.

  • Ask people within your network, including your Alumni network, if you can shadow them for a day in order to get a realistic preview of various kinds of positions.

03. Focus Your Career Goals

Narrow your focus, and align your skills and interests with likely career paths.

04. Gap Analysis

Identify gaps in your preparation (skills, knowledge or experience) which you will need to close in order to obtain your desired position. For each gap, identify specific actions you will take to enhance your skills and qualifications.

05. Personal Marketing Plan

Incorporate your self-assessment (Step 1), market research (Step 2), career goals (Step 3), and gap analysis (Step 4) into a plan for action.

  • Develop an impactful cover letter and résumé,
  • practice your elevator pitch,
  • hone your communication and networking skills, and
  • prepare a proactive and reactive job-search strategy.

Fundamentally, you need to define the critical path that will get you From Here → To There (i.e. Where you Want to Be)!

06. Implementation

Put your Personal Career Strategy into action and begin executing on your job search activities.

07. Career Management

Manage first impressions and work hard to understand the people, culture, and goals at your new employer. Repeat Steps  1 – 6 whenever you think you are nearing the end of your Tour of Duty. Be open to – and ready for – new opportunities.

"How should I prepare for changes in the job market?"

We are living in an era of rapid change. It is important to factor the impacts of artificial intelligence, Software Automation, and Disruption into your Career Planning efforts.

This article describes the changing relationship between employers and employees: Tours of Duty: The New Employer – Employee Compact. It argues that lifetime employment is dead, so employers and employees should strive to create conditions where employees attain lifetime ’EMPLOYABILITY’ by virtue of the skills and knowledge acquired on each ‘Tour of Duty.’

If you have never conducted a “real” job search, then you need might need to complete one or more free, self-paced courses found at The Employability Skills Checklist to better prepare yourself for conducting an effective job search campaign. (Note: The courses are free, but, if you want a certificate, you have to pay).

If you are preparing to conduct a job search in one or two years, you should be networking like a leader now: How Leaders Create and Use Networks

Additional Suggestions

1-Page Job Proposals

If you already know what capabilities you bring to the table and you know the company and the type of position you want, you might consider putting together an unsolicited one page job proposal.

Create Your Dream Job

Finally, it is very important to remember that the best way to find your dream job is to invent it. Opportunities are usually created, rather than found.


Transparent MBA helps you “plan your professional path using over 250,000 data points gathered from over 2,500 top companies….

In our experience, and after talking to hundreds of MBAs, we found that most students were relying on anecdotal evidence to make decisions that affected the rest of their lives. After investing hundreds of thousands of dollars, students deserve significantly more.

Our vision is to create the ultimate resource for MBA students in deciding between jobs and career paths.”

Burning Glass tracks market data for high potentials. This is a website worth checking from time to time.

Selecting employers on the basis of whether they understand the Employment Experience is a key point of differentiation and competitive advantage is one way to focus on employers who are aligned with the future. If this idea appeals to you, please consider reading The Future Workplace Experience: 10 Rules For Mastering Disruption in Recruiting and Engaging Employees.

Which MDI.TOKYO Program or Course is best suited to your career plans?