Self-awareness. It's something that I've been thinking about a lot lately. It doesn't sound like much but it really is a big deal if it's lacking. Most of my thoughts about obtaining self-awareness was more related to my personal life. However, the following article made me realize that this is something to strive for in your professional life as well. It's really okay to think about what you do well and what you need to work on in order to know how you best fit in your organization and what next steps you may want to take in your career.
-Sheila Kyser, Director of Staffing
Many people associate selling with pushy sales people who don’t listen to your objections and try to force you into parting with your money for a product or service that you don’t want. However, knowing how to sell yourself is a vital tool for effective career management. The process starts with your CV or resume, in addition to interviews, internal meetings and networking events.
When was the last time you sat down and reviewed your career accomplishments, and audited your strengths and weaknesses? Are you aware of the type of value you consistently bring to a team? Are you typically the person that puts structures and processes in place or the person who comes up with creative solutions to complex problems? Can you describe in specific detail how your contribution has made a distinct difference to the process and outcome of the projects that you have worked on in the past? Taking stock of how far you have come helps you begin to understand the value that you can bring to an organisation and positions you to better articulate that value.
Know the company
It pays to conduct a thorough research of the company you work for or are interviewing for. If you are interviewing for a new position, you can demonstrate your value by not only explaining the relevant experience that you have built up, but by taking it one step further and describing how that experience would be valuable for this potential new employer. If you are already working for the organisation, you can provide evidence of how your role has made a difference to the growth strategy of the organisation.
Use data to back up your assertions of value
If your role has led to decreased cost, increased revenue or saved time, then it is in your interest to record this data for use during key meetings with managers to build your case for promotion, increased responsibility or salary. Where this has been documented in detail, the facts speak for themselves and help build a strong case for your value without you having to sell yourself in qualitative terms.
Forward thinking and planning
Many assume that in order to sell yourself you need to look to the past in order to catalog your achievements. However, selling yourself includes recognizing your current weaknesses and how they might impact your future career goals. If you have constructed a clear plan to tackle these weaknesses, then this not only demonstrates maturity but also the ability to reflect and improve.
All work and no play
Many employees focus on their workplace skills and experience in order to sell themselves but sometimes your out of work activities can be what demonstrates that you are a “rounded” person. Perhaps you volunteer, that not only shows that you like to give back to your community but is a great way to develop leadership skills. Maybe you play a team sport? That is usually a good indicator of someone who may be able to work well in a team. Perhaps you have achieved a black belt in karate? That shows discipline and perseverance. Often non work activities can be a key factor in demonstrating your value to a potential or existing employer.