One of the most common challenges I see job seekers and career changers struggle with is identifying their skills and abilities and figuring out how to translate them into a job or career that works for them. Often the more immediate concern is how to do this for an upcoming job interview.
Why is it so hard to name what you do well? It’s natural for us to take for granted the things we’re able to do easily, because we assume it must be easy for everyone since it is for us. We forget that what’s easy for one person is not easy for another.
Flip this point of view. Examine what comes most easily to you. These could be your Super Powers: your unique strengths, talents and skills that enable you to provide the most value to any employer and separate you from other job candidates. Analyze your work experience more carefully for your Super Powers.
While there are a number of tools and techniques for getting clear on this, the following recommendations will help you identify your particular Super Powers:
1. Make a list of your primary tasks and accomplishments for each of your job or volunteer experiences.
Focus your attention on those:
• you excelled at
• enjoyed doing
• you received external positive feedback about and
• that provide the most value to your employer or prospective employer.
Since people can often 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 By David Lee MAR 2019 13 why was it my best?” and “What do you think are my best skills and attributes?”
2. Do an internet search for “Transferable Skills Checklist and download two or three different ones.
Pick the one you find the most useful to identify what key transferable skills you demonstrated in these tasks and accomplishments.
3. Come up with examples of you demonstrating these skills.
Keep a list of these examples because you will want to share them with the interviewer. Don’t try to commit them to memory. Make a list.
Sometimes you need to be creative, and getting another perspective can also be useful.
I was working with a convicted drug dealer on his interviewing skills a while back (a tragic case of someone turning to heroin to deal with oxycontin withdrawal who turned to dealing to fund his habit). As we talked about how to address the sensitive issue of his incarceration in the job interview, one of the things we discussed was how he could talk about the skills that were critical to survive as a drug dealer and how they would translate into a more conventional sales position.
If you’re thinking, “I’ve only had simple, no-brainer jobs, I don’t have anything to offer,” reach out to your wisest friend or family member or your counselor, or seek out a career counselor to help you see what you might have overlooked.