Today in my networking challenge I am interviewing Ingrid Stabb. Ingrid is the Co-Author of The Career Within You. She became a leader in the field of personalization with her innovations applied to product management, loyalty marketing, and career management at global Fortune 500 companies and international startups.
In case you are reading this at work and can’t watch the video, you can read all of the great advice below instead!
1) How can we determine our greatest career strengths?
There are a lot of ways to determine your strengths like Myers-Briggs and StrengthsFinder. There’s a lot of personality tests out there and I love them all. But what I think is the most powerful framework is called the Enneagram. In the work setting, I used it as a strength factors because what I focus on is career strength.
Basically what you do is you determine what your career type is; there are 9 types. And within them, you drill down and each of the types has different strengths. This is the base of your core motivation, something that you’ve been doing since you were a little kid. So you’ve been practicing it over and over again without even thinking about it to the point that when you are in your 20s and 30s you have this powerful career strength. What you do so flawlessly better than anyone else you so you might as well really play that up in your career, in your resume, in your job interviews, and everything that you do.
2) How can we match our career strengths to find the right career?
It’s hard to summarize because there are hundreds of hundreds of jobs, so what you do is you figure out your top two strengths and you go through the tables to map it out and see what suits you very well.
Let’s use Anna as the guinea pig for you to get an idea.
Anna’s two possible career types:
Perfectionist is motivated to make improvements.
Observer who’s motivated to acquire knowledge.
Probably in your whole life you’ve been doing two things; one is making improvements, which a perfectionist is great at, and two is acquiring knowledge, which you have probably done since you were a kid.
I think that your career strength as a perfectionist already shows in your brand and your style. Like Classy Career Girl, it’s classy it has a certain aesthetic to it where you really pay attention to all the details and strive for excellence. Perfectionists have a crisp polished field to everything they do which I actually pick up from your materials and your presentation, so it already a shining through in your style. Your listeners can see the perfectionist in what you do.
Anna, I’d like you to rate yourself from one to five.
1) Capacity to repeat. Rate your tolerance for doing one thing over and over and your ability to deliver consistency. (Anna: 4 or 5)
2) Empathy. How well do you listen in order to understand and experience the feeling or attitude of another person? (Anna: 4)
3) Mediating. Rate your ability to help different parties negotiate or see one another’s point of view. (Anna: 2)
4) Synthesizing information. Rank your ability to research and examine various forms of information and relate them to one another in a broader perspective. (Anna: 4)
5) Teamwork. How well do you cooperate with the group acting with the others in the interest of a common cause? (Anna: 5 or 4)
Based on what gave you a sense of excitement and happiness; out of these four which would you enjoy the most? The capacity to repeat, the routine you might enjoy and the comfort of repetition, Empathy, synthesizing information or teamwork?
Anna: Empathy and teamwork.
Here are some of the jobs that are a great fit for you as empathy and teamwork:
1) Human resources specialist – business
2) Organizational psychology consultant
3) Relationship manager
For someone who’s great with teamwork and empathy, there are so many ways to empathize that in your resume. The empathy you can say listening to the customer, caring about the customer experience, gathering requirements for a product or customer service.
There are so many ways to talk about empathy within the context of your resume. For teamwork, you might use different words throughout your resume to sprinkle it through and by the end, you’ll realize that this person is going be awesome. You just want to make that loud and clear instead of hiding it somewhere in the bullet points.
3) What are your recommendations for someone thinking about a career change?
So often I see people go into a field because of what they know from their family, what their parents did, what their friends were doing. But, there might be a field they just never knew about because they just didn’t have exposure but they’re actually perfect for it.
It’s good in a career transition, depending on where you are in your career and what age you are, when you’re in your 20s – reconnect to what your natural strengths are and then keep an open-mind. Look across many different industries like you might find out that you would love to be a doctor or something. No one in your family was a doctor so you didn’t go through the processes of being pre-med in college but its not too late to make a massive shift if you find out its the perfect match for your strength. That’s an example. Start from the point of what you naturally do so well and find out what matches that.
4) How did you get into your current career? How did you find the right career for you?
My career has been mostly in business and marketing, but neither of my parents were in business so I kind of fell into it because I love this kind of stuff. Ever since I was a kid, I loved personality typing and that’s why it’s like a hobby. I would send out little questionnaires to the kids in the 5th-grade class and have them mark in “what’s your favorite color” and “what’s your favorite animal.” It is one of those passions. I think each of us has some passion either we know what it is or it takes a couple of decades to zoom in on that.
It took me a long time to actually sit down and write this book because I spent time going to business school, doing those entrepreneurial things. Finally, I circled back and remembered my the passion is personality typing. Then I went for it and sent my book proposal to Harper Collins, my number one option for a Publisher. They loved it and accepted the book proposal right away. I was pretty lucky because its not easy to get published. It was a test to myself to follow my dream. One way or another if you stick to your dream you’ll find a way to bring things together and make it happen.
5) What do you wish you would have known as a young professional woman just starting out in her career?
I learned that it really is true that if you ask for something if you stick your neck out and ask for something, the majority of the time people will be willing to help you make it happen. When I was a freshman in college, I was a Russian regional studies major and I had a dream at the time of starting an adoption program in Russia.
When I stuck my neck out and asked around and tried to do it, it happened. That wasn’t my passion but it took me 15 years realize my true passion but this kind of thing happened to me again and again. It’s a matter of having the courage to go straight to the source, you might call somebody who’s like the president of the company or someone who you might afraid to call. If you actually stick your neck out and ask, people are happy to help you so you might as well start doing that sooner than later and ask for what you really need and want. Get clear on what it is so you ask for the right things because you might just be surprised.
Thanks, Ingrid for taking the time to talk with me today!
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