STUDENT BLOG – Interviews: Developing Your Personal ‘Why’

In an interview, you will likely be asked: “why this position?” and “why this company?”. I encourage you to focus on the “why you?” to better understand your answers to the first two questions—developing your personal ‘why’ or your mission statement can help you identify your values and goals, defining what matters to you most. Using your ‘why’ to guide your answers to these questions can help you prepare thoughtful and impressive responses. Doing your homework on the company beforehand can help you identify your shared values—be sure to include those in your answer as well.

A personal mission statement takes significant time and effort to create, although it provides a substantial payoff when finished. When you are emotionally invested in a goal, you are likely to have increased motivation. Your personal ‘why’ helps you determine what you are passionate about and develop an understanding of what motivates you.

Discovering your motivations can help you navigate what you want to do in your career – the roles you want to have, industries you want to work in, and opportunities for growth that fit your goals. Your mission statement makes it easier to transition careers or change aspects of your current career to align with your personal life goals. Developing your motivation allows you to focus your attention on the professional and career development areas that need it most.

Advancing your career by focusing on future goals that will get you closer to what you are interested in is more straightforward given a clear mission statement.

After finding goals that interest you, you can use this motivation to help you work through obstacles and challenges that may arise: when your personal ‘why’ is so strong, the ‘how’ will always fall into place. When things get hard, your personal ‘why’ can serve as a reminder of your goals and help you retain focus and build resilience to overcoming obstacles as they come.

Having a personal mission statement clarifies what you want to achieve, which can provide practical limitations. Deciding what to do with your time is just as important as choosing what not to do with your time. Generally, having a mission to guide your career can help you achieve both short and long-term goals. When it comes time to evaluate an offer, your personal ‘why’ clarifies whether the decisions you’re making are in alignment with what you want for your career.

Considering all these elements, creating your mission statement requires self-reflection, cohesion, and continuous revision. For your mission statement to be most effective, be as specific as possible while taking these steps:

  1. Establish your values
  2. Determine your personal interests
  3. Identify your strengths
  4. Describe your goals
  5. Outline actions to take
  6. Review your statement often

My personal mission statement, for example:

I am incredibly driven by the phrase “history is the set of the stories we choose to tell.” Through my education at UMass Amherst and Deerfield Academy, I have become increasingly curious about how our history, present, and future create both victims and victors within our society. As a TEDx speaker and mental health advocate, I share the message of the power of kindness globally with aspirations that one day my career path will allow me to carry this work with me into the workplace. I am interested in a career in finance because I want to help those who have fallen victim to our society’s history to achieve financial well-being and prosperity by creating tailored solutions and strategies that align with clients’ personal and professional goals. My personal ‘why’ is rooted in kindness, giving me a fresh approach to our society’s austere business sphere.

Raegan Hill is a Chase Career Peer – click HERE to access her bio.

By Raegan Hill
Raegan Hill Chase Career Peer Raegan Hill