Tag Archives: visibility

Job Seekers: When Are You Going to See the Bigger Picture of Your Expertise?

When are job seekers going to stop seeing their expertise as merely the bait for the next job? When will people start looking at how their expertise contributes to something far bigger than their own self interests?

In my Career and Job Strategy Workshops, I show participants how position their expertise beyond the nose on their face. I still see far too many résumés full of bullet lists containing “duties and responsibilities” that only tell me what you did (or had a part in doing)–what I as a hiring manager what to know specifically is what was it that you accomplished in the normal performance of your “duties and responsibilities”? How did what you did contribute to the higher strategic objective of the organization? Did it generate revenue? Did it reduce costs? Did it avoid costs? Did it result in some kind of efficiency improvement?

Figure 1 graphically represents how core competencies are created–by a series of related duties and responsibilities. Unfortunately, most candidate résumés are loaded with duties and responsibilities. When you have more than a few related core competencies, they contribute to a “functional expertise” and that’s what hiring managers want to see (accomplishments speak to functional expertise too).

functional expertise 1

FIGURE 1. Show hiring managers your core competencies, not just your duties and responsibilities, which do not separate you from the competition who also have duties and responsibilities. (© 2014 Donn LeVie Jr. from The Career and Job Strategy Workshop)

Candidates need to realize that a company is on the road to having a competitive advantage in the marketplace when they hire people who know how to showcase their core competencies and NOT just everyday duties and responsibilities. Companies that enjoy market dominance tend to employ people who know how to showcase their talent through related areas of functional expertise, as Figure 2 shows.

FIGURE 2. How core competencies contribute to a company's competitive advantage and how functional expertise contributes to a company's market dominance.

FIGURE 2. How core competencies contribute to a company’s competitive advantage and how functional expertise contributes to a company’s market dominance. (© 2014 Donn LeVie Jr. From the Career and Job Strategy Workshop)

Demonstrate to hiring managers that you understand the business, the issues, and the challenges by listing achievements/ accomplishments, core competencies, and functional expertise on your résumé–more than likely, you’ll be on that hiring manager’s short list for a job offer.
 

 

 

 

 

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Keep a Log of Project Successes

This sounds like obvious advice, but far too many people think of their project accomplishments only when it’s time to update their résumé, often years later. By then, important details may have escaped their memory. Keeping a weekly log of project accomplishments and challenges helps keep you on course throughout the journey through minor adjustments, rather than having to make a major “dead reckoning” midcourse correction or as the project comes to a conclusion.

Here are just a few reasons why you should maintain a detailed project log regardless of the size of the project.

  • A log of past project accomplishments not only helps with crafting an attention-getting résumé, but serves as a project history and reference guide for when you encounter the same or similar projects later.
  • A detailed project log helps capture your thought processes and how you assimilate, formulate, and execute your ideas throughout the project history.
  • When you need talking points for an annual review, promotion opportunity, or job interview, you have the details handy.
  • A detailed project log shows you the dead ends you may have been down once, and can avoid them in the future for similar projects.
  • It helps you frame your participation as a contribution to the higher strategic objectives of the organization rather than as a “task completion” if you update your résumé further down the road.
  • A detailed project log helps you calculate reliable quantitative data (dollars earned, costs avoided, percent improvements, etc.) that further demonstrates your value as a solutions provider to the organization.

Participating in internal process improvement initiatives can pepper your résumé with notable accomplishments.

My friend Stan Smith was part of a division publishing initiative at a former employer where seven people were charged with designing a new plan for creating, managing, and disseminating technical information to address emerging changes in the publications world. While the cost to implement the 18-month plan was between $1.5 and $2 million dollars (in 1998), the initiative was projected to save $2.3 million dollars in publishing costs and overhead each year after implementation.

Even though Stan wasn’t responsible for the entire initiative, his contribution is mentioned on his résumé. In fact, his detailed weekly log entries were a significant component of the final published study that was presented to upper management.

My wife  kept a project log of how she prepared for taking the exam for the “Certified Fraud Examiner” designation. During the lengthy practice test and study sections, she noted which sections were harder than others, and mnemonics she created to help her memorize key information, terminology, and formulas. Her notes were later published through the certified fraud examiner association website as a study tool for others to use as they prepared for the hugely comprehensive exam.

If you are in the habit of keeping a project log, keep doing it; if not, today’s a good day to start.

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Let’s Talk About Building Your Platform

platform builderYour platform, very simply, is the expertise you have developed that gives you visibility, authority, and a proven influence within a targeted population (profession, market, or field).

Let’s break down that broad definition to its components:

Visibility: Who knows you? Who knows your work or accomplishments? How do you communicate to others outside of your immediate job what it is you do or you’ve done? How many people are aware of it? How does your visibility get distributed? What communities (online, professional associations, etc.) are you a member of? Basically, where do you make waves?

Authority: How solid is your credibility? What are your credentials? (it’s not about how many you have but whether you have the right ones for the right field of work).

Proven influence: Don’t say you are an “influencer”; show where your work has made an impact and provide demonstrable proof of that impact (quantitative measures such as $$ or % really help out here). Oh, and please don’t use the term, “thought leader.” It’s such a cliché in marketing and there’s no way to demonstrate how many thoughts you’ve led.

Target population: Are you most visible to the most appropriate targeted audience? In other words, is your work helping to build your brand within the circles where you already have visibility?

Building your platform is all about putting in a consistent effort from one year to the next–not by calling attention to yourself, but by extending your network of people who are drawn to your brand (your expertise, your personal values, and your professional reputation). It’s building the platform to a point when it starts speaking for who you are (personal values), what you do (expertise), and how you do it (reputation).

Platform building is synonymous with creating and promoting your professional brand, and is an organic process that evolves over time and with circumstances. I read a great article on how authors create a platform (I used some of those ideas here because they parallel most other professional positions), and the author stated that

Your platform should be as much of a creative exercise and project as the work you produce. While platform gives you power to market effectively, it’s not something you develop by posting “Follow Me!” on Twitter or “Like Me!” on Facebook a few times a week.

How are you building your platform? What’s in your toolbox?

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