In today's competitive job market there's no way around it, you've got to promote your unique value and stand out from the crowd. Distinguishing yourself, your credentials, and your worth as the ideal candidate are critical to getting the call for that all-important interview. But despite the fact that tooting your own horn is a necessary component to success, self-promotion does not come easily to most of us.
So how can you attract the attention of potential employers, yet do it in a way that feels comfortable? The answer is easier than you might think. It's by creating what I like to call "winning examples."
We've already covered the importance of considering yourself a product in "Power Branding Your Post 50 Job Search" as well as how to "Drive Your Campaign Forward With Success Skills." Now we'll be taking your job search to the next level by learning to construct examples that are guaranteed to attract attention and demonstrate your value.
The process consists of three components:
- Identify projects you've dealt with, problems you've handled, challenges you've faced, and situations you've addressed.
- List the skills you used to complete the projects, resolve the problems, overcome the challenges, and/or remedy the situations.
- With every example, stress the positive results you've achieved--quantifying them with numbers or percentages whenever possible. (Using numbers adds weight and validity to your claims.)
The importance of creating your winning examples cannot be overrated. Examples both illustrate and back-up your abilities and are your critical tools for every phase of the job search process.
On your resume: They will attract the attention of the reviewer by underscoring your skills with powerful models of you performing your work at its best.
When networking: Examples provide your contacts with an idea of how you've performed in previous work situations -- which, in turn, allows them to recommend you to their associates with a better understanding of your true capabilities and experience.
In an interview: They substantiate as much as possible, within the confines of a conversation, that you possess the skills and background you are claiming.
By breaking your experience down into quantifiable, results-oriented statements, you'll be creating an unbeatable win/win situation. In addition to making it far easier to toot your own horn and express your accomplishments more effectively, winning examples represent your primary means of setting yourself apart from the competition. You'll be demonstrating your value as well as creating an even more powerful brand for you the product.
So, as you continue your campaign, remember to come from a position of strength. Be proud of the wealth of experience you bring, substantiate your skills with winning examples, express yourself with confidence, and anticipate success!
Mary Eileen Williams is a Nationally Board Certified Career Counselor with a Master's Degree in Career Development and twenty years' experience assisting midlife jobseekers to achieve satisfying careers. Her book, Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50, is a step-by-step guide packed with tools to turn age into an advantage--providing mature applicants with techniques to successfully navigate the modern job market as well as strategies that give them the edge over the competition. Visit her website at Feisty Side of Fifty.com and celebrate your sassy side!