Over the past several weeks, I’ve had a few conversations with people who have been thinking about their career goals. In all of the situations, the individuals want to grow…either at their current organization or in some cases, they don’t see a path to growth where they are now. Some of the messages I heard were…”I don’t know how to tell the story of what I can offer or my most recent job isn’t really what I’m passionate about or great doing or what if the person reading my resume or job posting can’t see past the job titles?”
In today’s world of automation where resumes often get screened first by technology vs. a person, it’s important to ensure that you are using words that really tell your story….what makes you different as an employee. Yes, you should look at what the job requirements are and tailor your resume appropriately, but I think the more important work starts earlier. It’s about identifying what value you add to any organization you join…what makes you special. Now…some of you will say…I’m not that different, lots of people can do what I do. But, I’ll beg to differ with you. There is something that differentiates you because we are all unique human beings.
To start…think about how you would describe yourself in 2-3 phrases as if you were doing your LinkedIn profile summary. Be bold in your thinking…this is your opportunity to sell yourself. As an example, these phrases are what I came up with for my LinkedIn profile: Enabler for Individuals and Organizations to Reach Their Full Potential * Activator for Change * Strategic Thinker. If this exercise is hard for you, ask someone you trust to tell you what you do better than others.
Consider if your unique capability looks like any of these:
- Everyone feels comfortable bringing you their challenges because they know that you’ll listen
- You are analytical and can see challenges from multiple perspectives
- You can keep the big picture in mind when it’s easy to get stuck in the individual tasks
- You can manage the complexities of any project/program and bring in the project on time and on/under budget
- You are the calming influence when everyone’s getting stressed out
- You are the excel guru
- …or some other super power
There are lots of ways that we differentiate ourselves in making a team or an organization successful. The key is knowing what your strengths are so that you can harness them in whatever role you perform. If you think about the role that you really want, think about your core strengths and how they would be valuable. Get crisp in being able to share these thoughts with others. Write it down and then say it out loud over and over until it becomes second nature.
When you think about your resume, a cover letter, or an interview, these are your opportunities to be the storyteller of your life. I’m not talking about inflating what you’ve done or the skills that you have but more about being authentic in what you have to offer and not underselling yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself enough to tell your story in a compelling way, the organization you’re speaking with isn’t likely to see what you really can bring to them.
Step out of your comfort zone a bit and be bold in telling your story. You are amazing and others should have the opportunity to see what you can do. You may not get the roles that you want every time but the more that you tell your story, the more that you will be able to see how those skills and capabilities are transferable in multiple situations, and the more confident you will be in what you have to offer the world.
Be bold. Tell your story. Believe in what you have to offer the world.