Many of my clients share they struggle with writing about themselves and specifically stating their quantifiable accomplishments. Here are a few tips you can use to recall specific accomplishments. The great thing about these steps below is they will also serve to help align your accomplishments TO the position you want next!
Step 1: Use indeed.com
Use a job aggregator like indeed.com to find 1 to 4 ideal career positions and print them out. Next, highlight the responsibilities and match all the keywords and phrases that resonate with you and that you have in your toolbox of skills and strengths.
When you are done, you will have certain keywords and phrases highlighted and, if you read down your list, you will start to see duplicates, or a pattern, if you will. Let’s say you have highlighted complex problem solver multiple times because it is in multiple positions you have picked out that are representative of ideal positions for you. If you see yourself as a complex problem solver—then you simply ask yourself, “Why am I connecting my skill set to that keyword?” Or, “What have I done in my past positions to make me feel that I am a good solver of complex problems?”
Inevitably your mind will connect to a memory of complex problems that you have solved. Using this information, you can now start to craft your success stories. Also using this simple exercise can ensure that your accomplishments match up with the job that you’re going after.
Step 2: Keyword your strengths
You can use ideal jobs, or you can also do this other exercise that is also really helpful. Start with a blank sheet of paper and just start to brainstorm on all the things you love to do the most and have fun with it. So think about what you’re doing when you are loving your job, and that’s usually the easiest way to get all the true authentic information bubbling up to the surface.
If you feel stuck, by the way, when you do brainstorming like this, take a break for the day because it give your subconscious mind a chance to really work on these ideas. We often don’t give ourselves permission to think this way or think about these things, so don’t feel frustrated if nothing is coming to you right away. Sometimes it takes time because of how we’ve conditioned ourselves not to think in this way.
Step 3: Turn your strengths into stories
Now you want to look at your list and ask yourself, “Why do I feel this way?” Perhaps you wrote “motivating” as one of your strengths, or “realizing cost savings.” Ask yourself, “Why do I feel like I’m good at controlling costs or why do I feel that I’m motivating?” This will help trigger your memory to the actual events that you’re connecting with that determined strength.
Taking this a step further, perhaps with motivating maybe you connect this strength to a time that you motivated your boss to let you take on a project that generated a certain amount of revenue for the company. Or maybe you motivated a national sales team with incentives that increased the company’s client base. So this is a very simple way to authentically draw out the key strengths that you want to use in your next position.