I recently graduated from college, but haven’t found a good job yet. I read in one of your past blogs [Target Your Perfect Job] that having a mission statement can help you find the right career path. Can you help me write one? I really want a job that helps society but still pays a good salary.
Companies create mission statements to provide a compass for their organization. By knowing why the company exists and what it intends to accomplish, the mission statement creates boundaries on which to base strategies and decisions. Creating your own professional mission statement can help you recognize your values and strengths, and then find a company that will recognize and reward those attributes. If you’re clear on your ideals, you can more easily sort through the job opportunities that come your way.
Start by defining your core values (up to five). If you’re uncertain how to put them into words, here’s a list of 500 core values. Select the ones that resonate with you.
Using these as the foundation, create your professional mission statement. Adapt Forbes four essential questions for a business mission statement to a professional mission statement:
- What do you do?
- How do you do it?
- Whom do you do it for?*
*This is the unknown in the job seeker’s equation. Solve for x = your future employer.
- What value are you bringing?
Project Manager Susanne Madsen recommends honestly answering the following three questions to craft your mission statement:
- What personal qualities do you most want to focus on?
- How can you use and display these qualities in a working environment?
- What are the most important values you want to express at work?
You needn’t get too wordy. In fact, the more succinct the better. An abbreviated, career-focused mission statement may be used by beginning job seekers in place of the “Objective” on a résumé.
Amy Louise-Goldberg offers this pithy formula on the Idealist Careers website:
“To combine/synthesize/integrate/leverage (or similar verbs) my experience in _______ (a) with my interest in _______ (b) to _______ (c) for _______ (d)”
In this format, “a” and “b” are nouns reflecting areas of existing expertise and target career field, “c” is a verb representing how you would like to contribute to a company and “d” is an adjective plus a noun that encompass the type of organization that would be attractive to you.
Your professional mission statement is a living document, not chiseled in stone. Feel free to update it anytime you have an “aha” moment about something you would like (or not like) to do in your career.
Now, to address your desire for making good wages while benefitting society. Teachers, social workers, and employees of nonprofit organizations are sadly not known for making decent salaries. But more corporations are trying to change the world, or at least improve their corner of the it. Check out the 100 Best Corporate Citizens from Corporate Responsibility (CR) magazine. It will inspire your search for a well-paid position at a social good company with a mission statement that parallels your own.
Readers: Share your professional mission statement below.
Do you have a job-related question? Ask Anita.
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