By Arnie Fertig
U.S. News, August 14, 2018 —
Think about your unique blend of skills, accomplishments and passions to determine your personal brand.
If you are beginning a search for a new position, a valuable exercise will be taking the time to self-reflect. Bring your strengths, aspirations and personal brand into focus. When you ask yourself the following questions and document your answers, you’ll be able to write a stronger resume, seek opportunities that are truly appropriate for you and have a fruitful job-search experience.
Why do you want a new job?
Are you fleeing a bad situation or are you simply looking for career advancement?
There are any number of good reasons you might feel stultified in your current role: lack of advancement opportunities, negativity in the workplace, tedium or other team members not pulling their weight. Maybe you have a boss from hell or have otherwise lost faith in the direction your company is taking.
Perhaps it is just time to move on. You’ve done what you can do in your current role, and it is the right moment to seek new challenges in greener pastures.
What do you love about your current and prior roles?
What tasks, projects or aspects of your role have provided you an interesting challenge? What has grabbed you emotionally and resulted in a sense of personal fulfillment?
Maybe you loved particular tasks. Alternatively, maybe you aren’t thrilled with the day-to-day grind, but you love your company’s overall mission that your work has helped to achieve. With this knowledge, focus your job hunt on positions that will afford you similar fulfillment.
Have you pinpointed your accolades, rewards and accomplishments?
You might have been named “Salesman of the Year.” That is an accolade.
You might have been promoted at a record rate and become the youngest person ever in your company to become Sales Grand Poohbah. That is a great reward for your previous work.
How many more widgets have you sold this year than last, and how many more did you sell than the rest of your sales team? What is it that you have specifically done to merit that award, bonus or promotion? These are the real accomplishments that you should be highlighting on your resume bullet points and in interview discussions. You might consider a separate section of your resume just for your accolades.
When you match your accomplishments to an employer’s needs, you’ll become the outstanding sought-after candidate!
Have you made a list of your skill sets?
When you begin networking, especially with people you don’t yet know, you’ll likely be asked something along the lines of “What are you really good at?” This is another way of asking, “What is your skill set?”
Be aware that you likely have different types of skill sets: social, physical, quantitative, communications and emotional. And within each of these rubrics lies many different skills that you need to ferret out to determine your fit for any given role.
For example, people often claim to possess excellent communication skills. But to simply make this declaration is too broad to be meaningful.
Are you good at sales, making PowerPoint presentations, writing white papers, annual reports, technical manuals, novels, speaking extemporaneously in front of large groups of people or mentoring others one-on-one? Of course, this is just a sampling of the many kinds of communication skills you might possess.
What sets you apart from other professionals with a similar background?
When you identify your particular skills, achievements and professional passions, you are well on your way to defining your personal brand. This will enable you to clarify the kind of work environment, role and company that will resonate with you and to which you can bring significant value. And when you effectively communicate all of this through informational interviews and a well-composed resume, you’ll be on your way to landing your next job.