All too often, when asked this question, clients and job seekers start squirming. Even CEOs, actually.
So why is it that we have a difficult time answering this simple little question, especially when there is so much riding on the outcome of your answer?
The problem goes pretty deep, actually. We are taught not to boast about ourselves by our parents, and those words of wisdom are reflected in our overall perception of ourselves.
In a job search, the target employer is a blank slate and knows nothing about you. If you can’t even articulate what you offer and the successes that demonstrate that value, how do you expect them to buy what you are selling? You need to be thinking about how are you going to articulate your attributes in a way that shows your value.
So, do you struggle with this question?
If you do, you need to take a break from your job search and spend some time doing some soul searching on what it is that you offer that makes you valuable to a prospective employer. Being grounded on your positive impacts to previous companies will give you a basis on which to pitch your services to an interviewer.
In short, you are in charge of painting your own picture of what you can deliver to a potential employer. Until you make some meaningful strokes to color in the lines of their conceptual canvas of you, the picture will remain blank and disconnected to what you can do for them.
You must embrace your career successes and feel ownership in your contributions… which will lead to a much easier job selling someone else on what you are capable of within the workplace. Of course, most of the time we work in teams and it was a collective effort that made the project a success, but in order to win over a potential future boss, you need to understand the importance of how your role led to that success, no matter how small it might have been. Everyone contributes something.
If you can tie back your contribution(s) to the success of the organization, you demonstrate an ability to see beyond the daily grind of your job duties and focus on the overall success of the organization, which will present a much more compelling argument as to why an employer would want to hire you.
Finally, put the shoe on the other foot… if you were the boss hiring the prospective employee… what would you want to hear from this person? Them rattling off a litany of job duties, or a persuasive statement backed by concrete examples of wins and successes that benefited a previous employer?
I know what I would choose.