Using your strengths to get that job
Written on the 25 July 2014 by Pete Storr, Consulting Partner, Strengths Partnership UK
The vast majority of theories of learning and development – and therapy, come to that – all say pretty much the same thing; that what we are unaware of controls us, and that of which we aware, we can control – and more importantly, can make sure those attributes work for us. If we know what our skills and strengths are, we can make sure we use them to our advantage. And that is very important when job hunting because if we are sure about what our Unique Selling Points are, we can make sure potential employers know what they are too.
We are all used to seeing brand names for products and services all around us every day of our lives. We gradually attach meaning to those brands. We will associate some brands with quality, some with value, some with products and services we trust; yet others with distaste.
You have a brand. It is what people say about you when you are not in the room. It helps us to separate ourselves from the competition when we are job hunting, to increase our visibility when we are looking for that promotion and it also helps us to be clear about who we are and to ensure we are acting in ways that are true to who we are. It is a very useful exercise to think about how others might see you and how you wish to be seen. We can also shape it to make sure we are coming across in the way we intend and have a clear message about who we are.
We can think of our personal brand as comprising 3 core elements;
A useful framework of 24 work-based strengths has been developed by Strengths Partnership and these are explored in my latest book. These were chosen through research to depict the 24 strengths that have the biggest impact on work performance; examples are Relationship Building, Results Focus and Persuasiveness.
Identifying the three “standout” strengths from the full list of 24 is useful to ensure that they are always at the back of our mind; choose the three that are most descriptive of you. For each of these strengths, you can then ask yourself the following questions: when have I demonstrated this strength? How did it help me meet a difficult challenge? How can I stretch this strength further? When we have identified our top three strengths, we have the instant answer on the tip of our tongue to the question “What do we get if we employ you?” and you have a useful framework for your opening paragraph on your CV!
Adding your values to your strengths and key transferable skills (learnt from previous jobs, our studies, voluntary work or even travel) help you create your Unique Selling Point – what it is about you that makes you special and organisations can see at a glance whether you will match what they are looking for. Understanding your values, strengths and what you bring to the table means you are better able to sell them – and help you to get that job!
Author:Pete Storr, Consulting Partner, Strengths Partnership UK