Don’t start by trying to find the right career ‘fit’

JP Michel

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Focusing on fit prematurely limits your options, instead of expanding them. Instead, focus on how you can contribute. Great employees seek out problems to solve, and then find ways to help. If you approach career exploration the same way, you will discover unique opportunities and it will be much easier to market yourself to employers. 

If we encourage all students to focus on contribution, before fit, we will prepare a generation to maximize their impact in the workplace. 

Our current career models emphasize finding the right fit. We measure students (through interest or personality) and match them to a job title that fits. 

The ‘fit’ model starts with the individual. Based on who you were in the past, it asks you to find a job title that would satisfy your needs. This approach is limiting, because it encourages students to start the process with their self-interests, before knowing what the world needs. 

The ‘contribution’ model starts with challenges to solve.  Once you find a problem that inspires you, then you reflect on how you can contribute. This model is centered on the real world and how we can help others. It starts by looking at the needs of others and the labor market, and then finding a way to help.

Focusing on contribution instead of fit is freeing. It allows students to:
-look beyond themselves to what is happening in the real world. 
-broaden their horizons and discover new opportunities.
-learn that there are many different ways to contribute to one challenge. 

In their careers, students need to understand both how they can contribute and (eventually) how to find a great fit. But by starting with contribution, students open themselves up to a world of new possibilities and opportunities. 

How do you help people focus on how they can contribute?

#careers #challengemindset #contribute #fit

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