How to Summarize Your Strengths2018-02-07T14:27:50+00:00

How to Summarize Your Strengths

When considering a job or career change, many people start updating their resume. Even before you open that document, however, you should be clear on what you have to offer a future boss.

A value statement can help you get that clarity. This is one sentence, maybe two, that sums up who you work best with and what you can do for them.

You can incorporate it into your resume summary, use it to answer the dreaded “Tell me about yourself?” question in an interview, or draw upon it at a networking event. It’s a theme you want to convey in all your communications with future employers.

Promoting yourself in your career is a tricky thing. You need to stand out, contribute in a unique way that can’t be replaced by a cheaper worker, a robot or automated system. You also need to fit in and be part of the team.

How do you manage these two seemingly contradictory things at the same time? Your value statement can do it.

The Template:

I work best in __________________________ type of company (or organization or industry) that can benefit from my ability to ___________________________ and __________________________. I’m best at _______________ , _____________________, and _____________________ . I’ve put these skills to use at ________ organization, where I accomplished _____________.

So, for example:

I work best in a small to mid-size retail stores that sell home goods, that can benefit from my ability to manage both inventory and staff.

I’ve got a head for numbers but also am able to motivate my staff members. I’ve proven this in my work at Crate and Barrel’s flagship store in Hometown, USA, where I have the lowest turnover in the region.

Sometimes the words aren’t at the tip of your tongue, however. A great way to probe your background is to try to think of three accomplishments or experiences that you would consider highlights of your career. What were you doing? What skills were you using? Who were you helping?

Invite Other Perspectives

Your best qualities may be invisible to you, however. In that case, I recommend saving every email and thank you note you receive on the job. Keep a portfolio file, so you can remind yourself of the value others saw in you.

And if you’re still having trouble seeing yourself clearly, don’t be afraid to ask your closest and most blunt friends and colleagues. Knowing your value doesn’t have to be a solitary quest. Enlist help.

Links for your weekend:

Here’s a blog post I did on how to prepare for a career change.

LinkedIn’s new feature aims to help you connect with specific career advice.

Performance artist/violinist Lindsey Stirling’s career advice. I love how she links finding your voice with failure, and courage with realizing you aren’t alone.

If a tree fires another tree in the woods… does it make a sound?

Some facts about Punxsutawny Phil’s career. I love that it includes a house painter and a roofing contractor. And yes, since I was born in Pennsylvania, I am bound by state law to always believe predictions from the Seer of Seers.