How To Recognize the Value You Bring - by David Lee

Two of the most common challenges I see job seekers and career changers struggle with is identifying their skills and abilities, and translating them into a job or career that works for them.

Why It's So Hard To Name What You Do Well

It’s natural for you to take for granted the things you're able to do easily, because you assume it must be easy for everyone since it is for you. You forget that what’s easy for one person is not easy for another.

Tip: Flip this point of view. Examine what comes most easily to you. These could be your "super powers": your unique strengths, talents, and skills with which you provide the most value to any employer, and differentiate you from other job candidates.

Analyze Your Work Experience Carefully For Your Key Competencies

Tip: While there are a number of tools and techniques for getting clear on this, the following recommendations should help you identify your particular marketable skills:

  • Make a list of your primary tasks and accomplishments for each of your work or volunteer experiences.

  • Focus your attention on those: 1) you excelled at 2) enjoyed doing 3) for which you received external positive feedback 4) that provided the most value to your employer.

  • Since people can sometimes see you more clearly than you can see yourself…Ask people who know you best—preferably in a work context: “When have you seen me at my best and why was it at my best?” and “What key skills and attributes did I demonstrate?” 

  • Do an internet search for “Transferable Skills Checklist” and download 2-3 different ones. Pick the one you find the most useful and use it to identify the transferable skills you demonstrated in your tasks and accomplishments exercise.

  • Come up with examples of when you have demonstrated these skills. Keep a list of these examples because you will want to share them with any prospective employer.

Now That You Have Your List of Marketable Skills and Stories To Illustrate Them, What's Next?

Practice telling your stories to friends, a career coach, or into a recorder. Get feedback on whether they are clear, concise, and compelling, and if not, what you need to do to make them so.

Now you’re set to have strategic conversations with people who can help you transition to new work. You'll be able to communicate what you bring to the marketplace and cite examples.