Our professional identity is all too often determined by the title of our positions and the list of corresponding responsibilities we’ve had over the course of our careers. Unfortunately, these characteristics don’t communicate our confidence, competitive advantage or true value in the workplace. Knowledge that is accumulated through experience is good — APPLIED KNOWLEDGE that produces results is BETTER!
To demonstrate your expertise, separate yourself from the masses and command the compensation of a top performer, your focus has to switch from tasks associated with past jobs to the specific results you can produce in terms of creating change that improves bottom-line performance.
Steps are outlined below to provide an “accumulative stream of consciousness”. Follow each point to take an inventory of your skills, abilities and measurable accomplishments. Then incorporate the information you gather to use as meaningful statements on your resume and verbal networking and interview communications to re-position yourself as an exceptional Solution Provider rather then a common commodity in the workplace:
- Consider, in specific terms, the type of situations you have effectively dealt with in past positions. What were the obstacles you overcame? What roadblocks did you remove?
- Now ask yourself – What skills supported your success? Did you negotiate effectively? Did you use resourceful and creative problem-solving or delegating skills? Was it your detail orientation or relationship development abilities? Where do you absolutely excel?
- Do you see sets of skills that can be grouped together? I.e. negotiation, presentation, training, and/or public speaking skills could all be considered communication abilities; motivation, vision, clarity of purpose might all be combined as leadership traits. Where you see these associations you will be able to pinpoint your areas of competencies.
- Why are your unique competencies important in terms of business growth, improvement or development? (This will become part of your professional value proposition).
- How do you respond to situations and obstacles in the workplace? What actions or strategies do you typically use to generate results?
- What are some of the changes you’ve made, strategies you’ve implemented, or activities you’ve produced?
- Why were these important to the business? (How did they affect productivity, quality, quantity and/or profitability?)
- What were the specific, consistent, measurable results that were produced?
- Do the results listed in step 8 have universal appeal – meaning would someone else want to pay you to produce the same results for them? If not – why not?
- When asked what you do – dump the job title. Instead, take all the information you have accessed from this exercise and create a dynamic, concise one to two sentence statement that tells others your area of expertise, the problems you can consistently resolve and the meaningful bottom-line benefits you can produce. Case in point – If you asked me about myself, which has more impact: A. I’m an executive coach; B. I build successful careers and business capacity, fast. Where do you want to go next?