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A Detailed Investigation into my Personal Profile and How I Can Achieve my Career Goals.
 
Table of Contents
Introduction. 3
Findings. 3
Self-Awareness. 3
Opportunity Awareness. 5
Employability Development 6
Careers Research and Making Decisions. 7
Transitions. 11
Interviews. 12
Assessment Centers. 13
Conclusion. 14
Action Plan. 14
Reference List 16
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Introduction

From late September through to early December, I have been taking an online course on career planning. As part of the course, I have completed online activities that involve assessment of my personality, skills, values and interests. As a result of completing these tests and answering these online questions, I have gained valuable information about myself including my strengths and weaknesses as well as my potential future career opportunities. Additionally I have realized what future employers would require from me, the significance of making a good first impression and the importance of effective time management in accomplishment of goals. Furthermore, I uncovered some parts of me that I never noticed before and would like to delve further into them in order to further enhance my self-awareness. This report describes findings from these tests, my reflections on these findings and a workable action plan for my future career goals that I have developed based on these findings.

Findings

This part of the report details all the things I have learnt about myself throughout the module as well as my future career plans.

Self-Awareness

            Self-evaluation and awareness is the base of any career planning journey (Manitoba, n.d.). Having a clear picture of one’s values, interests and skills is a great way to begin this journey. I am a twenty year old male student. I am currently a second year university student pursuing an undergraduate degree, majoring in International Business. I engage in university’s sports activities demonstrated by the fact that I am an active member of the university’s basketball team. I am also the vice president of the University Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) which demonstrates that I am good at leading others. This is consistent with the fact that I tend to naturally adopt a leading role when with others.
Personally, I would describe myself as: Confident, an efficient team member, a successful leader, creative, friendly, hardworking and attentive. The fact that I am an effective team member is backed up by the Team Work Audit assessment which asserts that I work well with others and hold team work at high regards since I understand that collective effort is far more productive than isolated individual efforts. According to the test results, I am also supportive of other team members and encourage others to express their views. Overall, the Team Work Audit assessment proves that I work well in a team setting. However, the test also revealed that I need to work on a few things when it comes to working in a team setting. Based on the results, I have a weakness of admitting my mistake to my team members and taking appropriate steps to rectifying them. Furthermore, as a team leader, I tend to exclude team members in the decision making process. From this evaluation, I need to work on overcoming these limitations.
Completion of the career values assessment revealed that my ten most important values are: Freedom, understanding, entertainment, family, flexibility, money, friendships, self-control, trust and punctuality. These results are consistent with the life values I currently hold. Above all else, I recognize the importance of family and friends which is why these two are on the top of my values list. In the future I would like to lead a healthy life that has an equal balance between work and social life. I don’t want to sacrifice my social life for my work and vice versa. The Time Management assessment (Winstanley, 2005) revealed that I have a major problem when it comes to creating time for exercise, health and leisure. Based on the value assessment test results and the Time Management assessment results, and I need to work on reassessing my values so that they can fit into my projected future life plan.
Completion of the Big 5 trait exercise reveals that I have varied aptitudes for each of the personality traits. With regards to Extroversion, I have a higher aptitude for this trait meaning that I am a social individual who seeks out relationships with others since I am easy to communicate with and have the ability to inspire and motivate others. Regarding Stability, the test revealed that I am moderately stable meaning that I am able to cope with emotional situations by being sensitive to other’s emotions and being slow to anger. When it comes to Conscientiousness, I have a lower aptitude for this trait revealing that I am flexible and adaptable therefore, I have the ability to quickly respond to any crisis that may arise. With regards to the Agreeableness trait, I am highly agreeable, meaning that I am able to create harmony among people, find the best in people, be considerate and be highly interested in the welfare of others. Finally, the results revealed that I have a high Openness to Experience meaning that I am in favor of change, are more susceptible to new ideas and enjoy analyzing others.

Opportunity Awareness

            Completion of the occupational interest assessment test revealed that I have a high interest in the following career areas:  Social, Enterprising, and Investigative. According to Holland (1959), it is normal to have more than two or three career interests. Since I scored highly in Social related career interests, I could do well pursuing a career that involves working with people. These occupations include: marketing, sales, lecturing or teaching. A high score in enterprising and investigative career interests reveal that I can do well pursuing a career related to business and discovery respectively.
Based on these results coupled with the course I am currently pursuing, I would be successful in a business career at an international level. A business career employs all the occupational interests I scored highly in which are: Social- since most business related careers involve dealing and working with numerous people; Enterprising- because this career interest typically involves business; and Investigative- because business related careers usually involve research on consumer preference. According to Holland’s classification, my Holland Code is S.E.I. A business related career could include a career in business management (including accountancy), financial management, marketing and sales. Since I am pursuing a degree in International business, it would be right to pursue a business career globally. Going global would be the right move for me since I scored highly in the test Is Going Global Right for You? According to this test (Berdan, 2011), I scored ninety five which revealed that I have the making of a good internationalists. However to have a bright future in the global sector, I would need to work on the items I scored low so as to enhance my global mindset.

Employability Development

Dacre Pool and Sewell (2007) define employability as having a set of skills, personal attributes, knowledge and understandings that make an individual more likely to choose or retain careers that they can succeed in and get satisfaction from. Assessing an individual’s employability development I this module is done by the CareerEDGE Model. This model includes the following assessments: Career development learning; Experience (work and life), Degree subject knowledge, understanding & skills; Generic skills and Emotional intelligence (Dacre Pool and Sewell, 2007).
After completion of the employability Development profile (Dacre Pool and Sewell, 2007), I found that with regards to Career development learning, I am strongly aware of what I would like to do once I acquire my degree, I am aware of the kind of work that would suit my personality, know exactly what I want from my working life. When it comes to employment I possess no relevant work experience. Results revealed that when it comes to Degree subject knowledge, I am currently dissatisfied with my academic performance. Completion of the generic skills assessment revealed that I have relatively poor oral communication skills, poor time management skills, and have little knowledge of how businesses operate. However, they also revealed that I am good at making presentations and work well in a team setting, I can easily adapt to new situations, and I am attentive, always takes responsibility for any of my decisions and possess good organizational skills. Emotional intelligence test revealed that I have the ability to assess people’s feelings and that I am able to manage my emotion effectively.
In order to increase my employability status to the level of the ideal graduate (who is a graduate who has fully developed their employability), I would need to work on improving the items that I scored poorly in. For starters, I would need to develop my degree subject knowledge in order acquire the necessary and relevant knowledge in my area of study. Additionally, I would need to enhance my Generic skills thereby enabling me to develop transferrable skills. Furthermore, I would need to develop interpersonal skills which would enhance my emotional intelligence.  Moreover, I would need to seek employment, preferably as an intern, in order to boost my relevant work experience. Most importantly, I would need to work on my time management since I would need to accomplish several duties simultaneously for instance, work as an intern, attend classes, study for my exams, play basketball and engage I team work activities.

Careers Research and Making Decisions

            Following the guidance of the career planning exercises completed throughout this module, the two potential careers I have decided to pursue are Accountancy and Financial Manager.
I have always been interested in accounting, since both of my parents happen to be accountants and growing up I admired their work greatly. An accountant is responsible for providing financial information to the company’s management by researching and analyzing accounting data as well as preparing reports to document findings of the research (Marshall, McManus and Viele, 2014). Among the many important duties of an account are: preparation of financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement and statement of changes in stockholders’ equity); documents any financial transaction that takes place; recommends financial actions based on his findings; and determine a company’s financial position based on the information collected. An accountant is also required to adhere to internal controls, federal, state and local financial legal requirements while undertaking these duties (Marshall, McManus and Viele, 2014). This simply means that he is required to have some level of integrity in order to ensure that all the information he provides in his reports are accurate in order to avoid fraudulent activities.
In order to qualify for an accounting job, one needs to complete a course that deals with accounting. In my case, since I am already pursuing a degree in international business, I would seek to complete the certified public accountant (CPA) course which would make me a qualified accountant. Pursuing this course while still pursuing my degree could be advantageous since I could be exempted from the units that I may have already covered in my classes thereby reducing the amount of time it may take to complete the entire course. According to the Generic skills assessment, I have a high level of mathematical ability, therefore, I would be able to complete this course without much trouble since accounting mostly requires a good level of mathematical competency.
Financial managers on the other hand, are responsible for taking care of an organization’s important financial duties. In simple terms, they are responsible for the company’ financial health. Among the duties that they undertake are: review of financial reports, providing financial forecasts, and monitoring all financial accounts. They are also responsible for finding ways of increasing an organization’s profits and analysis of markets so as to facilitate for better business opportunities like acquisitions and expansions. Importantly, they are responsible for advising managers on proper strategies to undertake to ensure the business is always profitable. In order to become a financial manager, one needs at least a bachelor’s degree in finance, business, economics or a related field. Since I am currently pursuing an international business degree, upon completion, I would be qualified for a job in this position. It is known that these type of job requires an individual with a high level of mathematical competency, and based on the Generic skills assessment, I am highly qualified in this area.
A reason why I chose these career paths is that, all companies require the services of an accountant and most big companies employ the services of a financial manager. Research into vacancies available for these positions on the web proved that these careers are on high demand and that there is no shortage of jobs in this areas. University of Leeds (2016) reports that globally, the Accountancy and business related services are among the sectors that will experience the highest growth in years to come. For this reason, these jobs will be available for many years to come.  These careers are also secure, since even during laybacks or cut downs, accountants and financial managers are less likely to be laid off since they are invaluable to a company’s effective functioning.
Another reason why I chose these careers is the fact that companies around the world always employ the services of these professionals thereby giving me an opportunity to venture in a career outside the country. According to the Generic skills assessment results, I have the ability to easily adopt to new situations therefore, I would be able to adopt to a new environment without it affecting my work performance. If I get the opportunity to pursue a career outside the country, I would be able to travel and experience new places, which has always been a dream of mine. Additionally, thee career choices are a good fit for me since I have always admired the responsibility of handling finances.
Furthermore, professionals in these career tend to earn a good amount of money. According to Robert Hall (2016), all accountants earn more than fifty thousand dollars annually and for senior accountants, this figure can go up to over a hundred thousand dollars annually. Robert Hall (2016) goes on to report that this figure is anticipated to go increase by 3.7 percent this year making the career pursuit even more lucrative. According to the United Stated Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016), a financial manager earns a mean annual wage of over one hundred and thirty thousand dollars. Compare to other professions, this is among the best paid professions in some countries and states of the United States of America.
I believe I have the potential and qualification to venture into either of these careers, however, I lack the necessary experience to do to so. Since I possess no relevant work experience, I would start by finding internship programs for these positions in order to build my resume and start my journey of venturing into the international market. Preferably, after completion of my degree, I can enroll in a graduate trainee program in either of the potential careers I have chosen which would enable me to build mu CV while earning a living and gaining relevant experience.
From the in-depth research I have conducted into these two potential career choices and the assessment results from the module, I believe I am in a good position to make the right career choice for my future.
 
 

Transitions

Online Presence, CV writing, Online Applications and Cover Letters
Completing this module has shown me the importance of a good professional online presence. Social media sites play an important role in assisting an individual to accomplish their career goals. Maintaining an active online presence on a site like LinkedIn allows prospective employers to access and view one’s professional history before inviting them for an interview. It is also useful when seeking employment, since these sites allow one to directly connect to potential employers by following their profiles and sending them direct messages. On this note, it is important to keep one’s online profiles decent and acceptable to keep managers from shying away from your profiles. Prospective employers check out a potential employees social media profiles in order to get an impression of their personality and behavior. They look at the kind of photos one displays and the kind of comments they make on these sites. For this reason, it is essential to present a good impression on these sites by posting respectful photos and comments. Social media sites are also important in helping one learn more about a company while prepping for an interview with them.
I also learnt the importance of a well written CV, a correctly filled online application form and a cover letter. A cover letter is usually the first thing that the employer looks at, therefor it needs to be captivating, well written and devoid of any grammar errors. It should be able to cover a brief introduction of who you are, where you learnt about the vacancy, reasons for your interests in the job, and why you are the best candidate for the position. This letter should accomplish all these tasks without tiring the employer, therefore, it should be brief but should speak volumes.
Additionally, correctly filling out an online application letter could increase an individual’s chances of being called for an interview. In order to do this, one needs to fill it carefully avoiding any grammatical errors. An important section in these forms is the personal statement part, this is a brief, yet important section since it tells the employer of your personal assessment of yourself and competencies. In order to capture the employers’ attention, this statement needs to be provide proper insight of who one is. I never really considered how vital this statement was to potential employers, but since I now know, I will pay more attention to what I put down in this part.
A properly written CV is also essential to securing an interview. A good CV should not be filled with irrelevant information but should be able to simply yet effectively highlight one’s education and skills that are relevant to the position one is applying for. Looking at my current CV, it needs a little restructuring so that it can stick out to potential employers.

Interviews

Completion of the module has also shown me the importance of adequate preparation for an interview. Lumley and Wilkinson (2014) particularly emphasize on the significance of making a good first impression. Among the things they suggest in making a good first impression to potential employers is: always conduct detailed research of the company prior to the interview, always arrive on time, dress smartly (if unaware of how to dress, consult on the dress code), pay close attention to what is being said, show enthusiasm, be yourself but on your best behavior and be respectful (Lumley and Wilkinson, 2014).  Completion of the Interview Stream Self-Evaluation Form revealed that I have excellent upright posture, have self-confidence, dress appropriately and are friendly. Results also revealed that I can express ideas clearly, emphasize on strong points, answer tough questions and convey good decision making ability. Completing this evaluation assessment made me realize that the type of accessories and clothes one wears to an interview is very important. However, I need to make improvement in my verbal communication skills with regards to using proper grammar and proper communication of career goals.
Apart from appropriate dressing for an interview, one needs to be prepared to answer key interview questions. Particularly, it is important to know how to answer the impossible question: what are your weaknesses (Smith, 2014). This is one of the most difficult questions to answer in an interview since actually naming one’s weakness may put off a potential employer. By asking these question, an employer is trying to assess your level of self-awareness. In order to successfully answer these questions, Smith (2014) suggests applying the following tips: Don’t offer a weakness that is actually a strength; identify a weakness that you have worked hard to overcome; and identify a weakness that is not necessary for the daily accomplishment of the work duties.

Assessment Centers

Completion of this module allowed me to learn how assessment centers operate. Learning about these centers revealed that employers employ the use of: ice breaking activities, presentations, group activities, role playing and psychometric tests. Icebreakers enable people to loosen up and get comfortable while getting to know each other and group activities allow an employer to gain insight of an individual’s ability to work with others. According to the module results, I am good at making presentations and work well with others. For this reason, I believe I would do well in group activities and giving presentations in assessment centers.
Particularly, I learned a great deal about psychometric tests. These tests come in many forms, for instance, numerical psychometric tests or situational psychometric tests. I believe I have the ability to do well in this tests if I was to ever face one, since I have good numerical skills and the ability to adopt to new challenging situations. However, to be on the safe side, I would need to complete psychometric practice tests that are readily available online.

Conclusion

Completion of this module has really allowed me to learn a lot about myself and my skill level. As a result, I have been able to identify a clear career path that I can passionately pursue. I have gained sufficient and significant information about how important social media can be to one’s pursuit of their career goals. Additionally, I have learnt how to adequately prepare for an interview and how to act during the interview.
I can honestly assert that I have accomplished what I set out to achieve when I enrolled for this module, which is to better understand my strengths, weaknesses and find a definite career choice for my future. As I am now, I feel much more motivated and prepared to face my future since I now know exactly what it is I want and what career I would like to pursue in the future.

Action Plan

Upon completion of this module I have realized what my career goals are and how I can work to achieve them. My current goal is to complete my undergraduate degree. In the next two years, while still pursuing my degree, I will find an internship position relevant to my area of study and consistent with my career path in order to acquire relevant work experience and build my CV content.
Based on the career path I will choose to follow, wither a career in accountancy or financial management, I would need to enroll in a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) course in preparation for a career in accountancy.
In the next five years, I hope to have completed my pursuit for higher knowledge and have gained employment in a reputable organization. After accomplishment of these goals, I would hope to go on and secure a senior role in my chosen career path. For instance, if I do become an accountant, I would like to be promoted to a senior accountant position or if I were to become a financial manager, I would like to be one in a major respectable international company.
Upon accomplishment of these goals, I would like to pursue a master’s degree in my chosen career area in order to gain more expertise on my chosen subject area. Doing this will increase my knowledge ad value in the job market. All in all, my future career action plan is to have a successful career in the area I choose to pursue

Reference List

Berdan Stacie. 2011. Go Global. SNB Media LLC.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2016. Occupational Employment Statistics. Available at http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes113031.htm
Dacre Pool and Sewell, 2007. The key to employability: developing a practical model of graduate employability. Education and Training. Vol. 49 No. 4, pp. 227.
Smith Jacquelyn. 2014. How to talk about your biggest weaknesses in a job interview. Smith. Available at http://www.Smith.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2014/02/11/how-to-talk-about-your-biggest-weaknesses-in-a-job-interview/#543cfa5e6fd0
Holland John. 1959. Theory of Occupational interests. Journal of Counselling Psychology. Vol 6 (1). Pp 35-45.
Lumley Maryvonne and Wilkinson James. 2014. Developing Employability for Business. OUP Oxford. 223 pages.
Manitoba. N.d. A guide to planning your career. Available at http://www.manitobacareerdevelopment.ca/CDi/docs/plan_your_career.pdf
Marshall, McManus and Viele. 2014. Accounting: What the numbers mean. McGraw-Hill Companies.
Robert Hall Company. 2016. Why you should look at these 10 top accounting jobs. Accountemps. Available at https://www.roberthalf.com/accountemps/blog/2015-salary-guide-snapshot-10-in-demand-accounting-and-finance-positions
University of Leeds. 2016. The European and Global job market. Career Centre. Available at http://careerweb.leeds.ac.uk/info/56/job_market_trends/235/the_european_and_global_job_market
Winstanley Diana.  2005. Personal Effectiveness: A guide to action.  McGraw-Hill Education / Europe, Middle East & Africa. 256 pages.
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