Thursday, April 24, 2014
The "new normal" is a whole new way of doing business -- both in terms of how businesses operate and the talent they recruit. In the new normal, business relies on people who can contribute to the bottom line -- who can bring real value to the organization. To recruit such talent, most businesses rely first on referrals from trusted sources. As a job seeker, demonstrating your value and nurturing your network are paramount to success in the new normal.
Demonstrating value is about telling your story of how you influence outcomes. Relying on number of years experience, listing the responsibilities of past positions doesn't convey value. Not in the new normal. You have to articulate how that experience and how those responsibilities contributed to the organization's goals; to its bottom line. You have to tell a story that demonstrates value: You've done it before, you can do it again.
So how do you recalibrate years of experience and increasing levels of responsibility to value? You begin by focusing on accomplishments rather than responsibilities and you fashion stories that reflect those accomplishments; and you do it concisely. There are a number of acronyms to frame your stories: CARs, SARs, STARs, SOARs. Each focuses on a problem, situation or opportunity that required action; the action taken to address them; and the results or outcomes of those actions and their impacts on the organization. Look back at your recent assignments and your achievements. Fit them into the model -- problem, action, results -- and determine your value.
A number of my clients protest that they can't determine the value of their actions. Results don't have to be measured quantitatively in terms of dollars earned or saved or time saved. Results can be qualitative. Perhaps you initiated a new strategy that changed the direction of a program in trouble or turned around a disgruntled customer. Or you might have convinced a group of decision makers to go in a different direction, which made the organization more relevant in its market.
One way to determine your value on a project is to take yourself our the equation. What would have hap pended if you weren't there? Kind of like Jimmy Stewart's character in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life." If you hadn't been involved in the project, would the outcome been the same? If not, that's your value. You were able to influence the outcome for the better -- for the team, for the organization.
Once you have determined your value, tell your story. Tell it in an interview in response to the questions "tell me about yourself" and "what are your strengths." Tell it to your friends and colleagues in your network. Don't be obtuse about it. Don't pitch everyone you run across about the great things you've achieved in your career. Find out what their challenges are. Remind them, gently, how you've been successful with similar challenges in the past. Let them know what you can do for them.
In today's highly competitive environment, where more candidates are competing for limited positions, conveying your value is critical to success. In the new normal, where organizations seek talent that will contribute to the bottom line, conveying value is critical. It differentiates you from everyone else, from the competition.
Have you recalibrated your value for the new normal? Can you tell stories of the value you bring to an organization?
Barbara Babkirk is a Master Career Counselor and founder of Heart At Work Associates, a career counseling and outplacement firm in Portland.
With a focused and intuitive approach, Barbara makes a difference in people’s lives by helping them design a new life chapter. She has a successful record guiding career transitions for professionals ranging from executives and artists to attorneys and entrepreneurs.
An expert in her field, Barbara is a public speaker on work-related topics writes a solutions-oriented column about work for the Portland Sunday Telegram.
Scott Woodard is a career coach with Heart At Work Associates, a career counseling and outplacement business in Portland, Maine.
Scott works with clients to identify and articulate their value and their personal brand. He helps clients develop clear, concise and crisp messaging to convey their particular difference, their achievements and their approach.
Scott coaches clients to market their brand through social media platforms, especially LinkedIn. He offers monthly workshops on how to make the most of LinkedIn for businesses or job seekers.