If you’re like most people, your career path has taken some twists and turns. Technology marches forward, new opportunities arise and your skill set evolves to stay competitive.

So we take courses, update our marketing materials and refine our elevator pitch. But have you thought about the interview? Not with the recruiter, but the most important person in your career: you.

While you’re busy doing what you need to do, consider taking a breath and doing what you should do: getting clear on your values and goals.

This is an important step that will help you to identify what truly matters, be your authentic self, and tailor your job search and materials to match your intentions.

So go ahead, interview yourself. Get to know you. (Bonus: You can stay in your sweatpants.)

What do you want your legacy to be?

Have you gone back to the future? That is, have you thought about how you’d like to look back on your career? How would you like colleagues, clients and customers to remember you and your contributions? This will help guide your choices and the stories you share in an interview. If these take some time to think through, no worries. The interviewer won’t bite.

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What motivates you?

Why do you want to work in [insert industry]? What about [company name] gets you excited? Many companies are forthright about their missions and why they do what they do. If you jibe with their why, you’ll have an easier time targeting your materials and speaking with passion and purpose to a hiring manager.

What type of work fulfills you? Turns you off?

Do you thrive in collaboration or working independently? What tasks and roles fulfill you? How do they support your values and personal mission? Likewise, what makes you feel like your soul has left the building? Identifying those red flags now will save you time and keep you focused.

In Person

Career Catalyst

Rebecca Kraus will be speaking about using social media to find a job on Nov. 6, 2019, at The Swing Shift's Career Catalyst series in Seattle.

What’s your ideal workplace culture?

Some organizations rely on hierarchy and rules. Others are flat and autonomous. What culture attracts you and why? (And, no, a pingpong table is not culture.) Is it important to blend work with play, to socialize with your co-workers, or would you rather keep it to business?

Which benefits and perks matter to you?

How much do you value low health-care premiums, a 401(k) and stock options? Maybe a gym membership and flexible work hours float your boat. Do you care about an unlimited supply of sparkling water and coffee? Or is salary the most important currency to you?

Now, put it all together.

Listen carefully to yourself, and you’ll be able to extract your story from this interview. If you can boil it down to a sentence or two, then you will get a valuable takeaway from this exercise. “I am a _____ who thrives doing ____. My expertise is in ____. I would like to work at _____ with _____.”

Nailed it! Now, see how this helps inform your job-seeking, and more importantly, your career.

Rebecca Kraus, Seattle Times Explore columnist
Rebecca Kraus, Seattle Times Explore columnist