Students often ask me, “what should I put in my summary section on my resume?” My favorite answer is to tell them to develop a personal mission statement. Oftentimes, students look at me with a questioning eye, wondering how a personal mission statement will help them get hired/into grad school/expand their network. However, once I let them know that organizations have mission statements that function to guide them forward and to distill the organizations into core key values, students get excited.
It is not often that we take the time to actively sit back and reflect on what we truly value, what our purpose is. While work should not be the exclusive purpose of your life, many use work as a way for them to feel purpose or make an impact on something larger than themselves.
What better way to show an prospective contact or employer that you know about yourself, your skill set, and how you can contribute to their organization than creating your own personal mission statement.
So, without further ado, here’s an outline that can help you define your personal mission statement!
- Get out a piece of paper, and think about two to three qualities that you have and that you think best define you. These can be qualities that other people often describe you as, or something that you strongly feel fits you well. Examples could be ingenuity, creativity, positivity, determination, tenacity, practicality, humor, poise…
- Next, think about two or three ways that you express those qualities when interacting with your passions, internal or external. Examples could include improve, optimize, counsel, encourage, investigate, research…
- Now, imagine a scenario where everything is the way you want it to be. Everyone, everything is behaving in the exact way you have always dreamed. What does this scenario look like to you? How do people in this scenario interact with each other? How does this scenario make you feel? Write your answer in a statement. An example would be “everyone is working to improve society. I feel valued by helping people on an individual basis, seeing the change they are able to make in their own lives.”
- Lastly, combine 1, 2, and 3 into a single statement! An example would be “my purpose is to use my determination and tenacity to improve others lives and counsel others through their struggles to benefit society”
Well, there it is! You have created your personal mission statement.
Authored by: Andrew Tessmer, M. Ed., Assistant Director of Career Development at Rice University, Houston, TX
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