Posts Tagged 'Self-Assessment'

Can You Identify Your Single Greatest Accomplishment?

I’m working with a client whose documents include a note about a specific role that she performed in one of her positions. She indicates that this was “her single biggest professional accomplishment.”

This led me to ask: How many of us can identify our single greatest professional accomplishment? Can you? What if someone asked you in an interview what work experience made you the most proud? Could you pick one?

Maybe we are all too busy trying to identify our weaknesses to describe in an interview, when we should be focusing on the best things we have to offer. Think about it…If you don’t know your greatest strength, who does?

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photo by ducktourer

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The Behavioral Interview: Have STAR Job Stories to Share

Each week in BusinessWeek, Jack and Suzy Welch contribute a column.  This week’s (April 7) column concerns questions for interviewing CEO candidates. 

While most of us will not interview for a CEO position, it is interesting to note the questions the Welches suggested.  Some samples:

In your career, what’s the best example of you anticipating market changes that your competitors did not?

Can you point to any of your people who “grew up” with your guidance and  have gone on to succeed in your own company or beyond?

What was the toughest integrity violation you have encountered and how did you handle it?

Have you ever had to define yourself in the midst of criticism, and did you succeed?

You’ll note that all of these questions are behavioral in nature…They ask the interviewee to tell a story demonstrating his or her abilities regarding the question.  The point of the behavioral interview question is to determine how a candidate has behaved in the past, thus suggesting their future behavior.

Answering behavioral questions requires some preparation.  Consider the “STAR” technique:  Answer this type of question by offering:

S – situation.  Describe the scene.   Offer some background for the listener.
T – task.  Elaborate on the work that you did to solve or address the problem.
A – action.  Describe what you did.
R – result. Don’t forget to explain how it all came out.  Hopefully, you were the hero in a story with a happy ending!

It’s a good idea to have some stories that describe obstacles you’ve overcome, including problems with colleagues or bosses, as well as several stories describing successes.  Have some “job stories” to share and you’ll be better prepared to explain what you have to offer an employer.

Keppie Careers will help you prepare for your interview!  Need a top-notch resume?  Keppie Careers offers confidence, clarity and job-search know-how!  www.keppiecareers.com

Discover Your Value Propositon – The Elevator Pitch, Part II

In a previous post, I outlined the importance of writing your value proposition or “elevator pitch.”  To recap, this is a short (30-second), prepared speech that addresses the questions, “Who are you?” and “What do you have to offer?”

In Part One, I suggested writing down your top five work and personal accomplishments. 

Now, think about what you want to achieve.  Tie these achievements to the target’s needs…

What problem do they (or their organization) have that you can help solve?  Remember, although the pitch describes what YOU offer, it is really about your target.   In fact, you should alter your pitch depending on your target.  (Once you have something solid worked up, it will be easy to adjust it depending on your audience.)

Offer specifics about your skills and accomplishments that address the target’s problems. Are they lagging in sales?  Maybe you have a fabulous sales track record.  Do they need new written materials?  Bring up your background and accomplishments in revising or creating such materials.  In other words, you are the answer to their problem!  (Who doesn’t want to meet the person who solves their problems?)

Demonstrate your interest and excitement about your work.  No one wants to engage a cold fish.  Don’t go overboard (no jumping on couches a la Tom Cruise), but be sure that you sound passionate about what you have to offer.

Practice your pitch.  Memorize it until you could say it if someone woke you up from a nap.  Once you know what you have to offer, it will be easy for you to tweak your pitch depending on the target and what their needs may be.

You may be surprised at how useful it is to have an elevator pitch ready at a moment’s notice.  It’s useful for networking as an answer to the question, “What do you do?” and you can rely on it as an introduction to a great “gate opener” (someone who has the potential to connect you to someone who may be instrumental in your job hunt).  

By sharing information about who you are and what you do that is targeted to the individual who could use your services, you are several steps ahead of most job seekers and professionals who are not prepared to describe what they offer.

Keppie Careers can help you with every aspect of your job search.  Need a resume?  Help with your linkedin.com profile?  Interview prep?  Take advantage of our experiencewww.keppiecareers.com

Discovering Your Value Proposition – The Elevator Pitch, Part I

elevator.jpg
Photo by pink_emme_bat

Have you written your elevator pitch?  Otherwise known as your value proposition or a personal infomercial, this is a brief (some say 2-minutes, I like 30 seconds) introduction to you with a focus on what you have to offer.  This technique is used all of the time in sales and marketing, and since your job search is all about marketing YOU, having a well practiced, targeted elevator pitch is a good idea.  (The name comes from the fact that you could deliver your “speech” while going down an elevator with a great contact.  I guess the length may depend on the height of the building!  Since most people have a pretty short attention span, assume most buildings are short.)

Just as your resume should be targeted to the reader’s needs instead of your own needs, your pitch should focus on how you can solve a problem for the listener.  What do you offer?  What is your hook?

Discovering Your Hook

What is special about you?  What skills and accomplishments set you apart from every other person in the room?  In your industry?

You need to know two things:

  1. What the employer wants.
  2. What you offer.

You will find out the employer’s needs via research, informational meetings and networking.  Discovering what you have to offer may take longer! 

Big brands like Disney decide what they offer before they create and place their advertisements.  When they want to advertise Disney World, they appeal to families and parents’ need for an affordable, yet magical vacation.  Their brand is all about magic and family fun.  Their television ads appear on shows with a high viewership of people Disney targets.

If Disney didn’t consider what they offer, they wouldn’t be able to target their marketing.  By defining themselves and what problem they solve, they can offer a hook (an affordable family vacation).

What is brand YOU all about?  What makes you special and unique?  Think about what you offer an employer.  Consider your top five work and personal accomplishments.  Write them down and think them over.

Read more about writing your elevator pitch

Keppie Careers can help you with every aspect of your job search.  Need a resume?  Help with your linkedin.com profile?  Interview prep?  Take advantage of our experiencewww.keppiecareers.com

Branding You for Career Success

In some circles, “branding” sounds more like something you do to an animal than a topic for a career column.  Others nod silently, recognizing the concept…Self branding, actually thinking of yourself as a brand like Coke, Disney or Nike, is a career strategy.

If you recognize that a resume is nothing more than a marketing document – marketing you – thinking of yourself as a brand can actually help you focus on what you have to offer an employer.

You need to know yourself to sell your skills.  Think about it:  What makes you special or different?  Can you succinctly talk about it in 15 words or less?  How about in a 30-second “infomercial” for yourself?  Otherwise known as the “elevator pitch,” having something short and sweet to say that describes you (your brand) is key to networking and job searching.

Once you clearly and efficiently describe what is unique about you, you are on the road to defining “BRAND YOU.”

Stay tuned for more on personal branding in future blogs!

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Looking for a job, but you need help figuring out what makes you unique?  Can’t put your finger on what skills you have to offer?  Keppie Careers can help!  We’ll transform your resume and support you every step of the way!

Our mission:  to advise, encourage and enlighten job seekers!

www.keppiecareers.com

Best Companies and Work Happiness

Fortune announced its Best Companies to Work for in 2008.  Based on employee surveys, Google ranked #1, probably as a result of their unique company culture, benefits and work environment.

What makes a great company?  Great pay and perks, training, job growth and flexibility are among the characteristics that employees appreciate in their work place. 

Free scuba classes, prayer and meditation rooms, free trips and free lunch are among some of the unique perks at some of the top 100 employers rated in the survey.

Even if your company or employer didn’t make the list, less tangible factors also make for a great workplace.  For example:

  • Mentorship,
  • Support for implementing innovative ideas,
  • Latitude to be creative,
  • Emphasis on promotion from within and
  • Support from non-micro-managing leadership.

Working with people whom you respect and like is another important, although intangible factor that influences your experience at work.  Although pay and perks are great, in my opinion, working with people whom you admire and enjoy being around may be the most important factor influencing a positive work life!  After all, many of us spend more waking hours with our work colleagues than our friends and families.

Feel free to share what makes a top workplace in your opinion!

Let Keppie Careers help you find a better job!
We advise, encourage and enlighten job seekers.

www.keppiecareers.com

Soft Skills for Your Job Search

Today’s post is from keppiecareers.com. Visit our Free Resume and Career Advice page for more useful information….

What are “Soft” Skills?

Soft” skills, otherwise known as emotional intelligence, may make a difference between an employee who can do the job and one who does it well. Soft skills include: leadership, written and verbal communication, problem solving, motivation, interpersonal skills and creativity. Soft skills are transferable to any position; they do not rely on technical abilities. They are not skills typically taught in classrooms. (Although some business school programs are incorporating training in emotional intelligence to give their students a competitive edge.)

Take a look at this soft skills (emotional IQ) test that you can take on line to get a sense of how your skills rate.

Some recruiters believe that soft skills make the difference between the candidate who is hired and the second choice applicant. Employers today seek flexibility, teamwork and integrity. They realize that someone who communicates well and has a strong work ethic makes a good employee. As a result, incorporating these skills on your resume may make the difference between getting an interview and getting passed over.

The key is to incorporate soft skills with specifics that SHOW your abilities. For example:

Before:
Excellent oral and written communication skills.

After:
Wrote and presented successful training sessions to 200 telephone operators, resulting in measurable gains in company’s ordering efficiency.

The first bullet begs the question: Prove it! The “after” bullet leaves no room for doubt: This applicant can communicate verbally (in front of a group) and in writing.

Selected Soft Skills List

approachable
business acumen
charisma
communication
composure
conflict management
creativity
crisis management
critical thinking
decision making
dedication
empathy
energetic
ethical
flexibility
hard working
honesty
humor
ideas
initiative
inspire others
instincts
integrity
interpersonal skills
leadership
listening
management
morale building
motivational
multicultural sensitivity
multi-task
organizational
passionate
personality
planning
poise
problem solving
professional
public speaking
reasoning
research
respect for others
self confident
self-motivated
sensitivity
supervisory
take constructive criticism
team building
team leadership
team player
time management
verbal
visionary
work well under pressure
writing

Keppie Careers suggests incorporating specific soft skills in your resume. Think about the attributes that make you a strong employee, person and friend. Plan to be able to elaborate and describe these skills in an interview.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

Keppie Careers will help you identify your skills and get you on the way to job search success.  From a great resume to step-by-step job hunting assistance – Keppie Careers is here for you! www.keppiecareers.com.


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