You can’t be all things to all people. You need to create and promote a brand that describes your strengths and values, not a brand so generic that it could describe anyone in your field of work.
You need to decide
I’ve been providing career transition coaching to Cathy. As a project manager, she’s been involved in many projects, such as mergers, acquisitions and new technology, just to name a few. Her experience was so broad that when she lost her job, she couldn’t zero in on her core strengths. She was all over the place and consequently, couldn’t develop a career search aligned with what she does best.
Select the key elements
As a first step, I taught Cathy to choose the key elements of her strengths, interests and values. For example, when choosing her core strengths, Cathy had to think beyond what is normally expected. She had to think beyond things like, “I’m smart and learn quickly.” Instead, she translated this into an element of her brand and said: “I am the person who delivers results on difficult, highly technical assignments.”
Then, she had to align this core strength with the values of the type of organization she was interested in: namely, organizations that employ smart and talented people like Cathy. Her core strengths would translate into “I am bring value in solving problems beyond the skills of most my colleagues. I do things no one has done before; except me.”
Thirdly, Cathy had to balance the elements of her brand with her other attributes. Cathy had to avoid being labelled as a “nerd” who can solve technical problems, but cannot deal with people orcan’t see the big picture. Therefore, I taught Cathy how to develop stories around her strengths; stories that involve people and results.
The success of your job search is built on this alignment.
Focus your resume
Once Cathy took the time to analyze her career up to this point, she was able to more finely tailor her resume, as well as develop a solid pitch about why she is the leading candidate for the role.
Cathy developed different incarnations of her resume, and took the time to develop these fully. Cathy managed to reinvent herself and create new flexibility in her employment search. However, she never lost her main focus – her values, her core strengths and attributes, who she wants to work for and what she wants to accomplish.
Whenever you look for another job or consider a career change, you put this task as the centre of your attention. That is focus.