Quick! When I say do an honest self-assessment what points do you immediately think of?
What did you come up with? Shortcomings? Strengths? If both, which were there more of?
Many of us tend to focus on our shortcomings.
We’re not very good at fully appreciating what we are exceptional at doing.
The positives often get overlooked, undervalued, and under-expressed.
Just how clear and strong are you in realizing and expressing your strengths and abilities?
How much “humility” are you over applying to the skills, talents, and experience you have and therefore under-reporting to a potential employer?
If you find that your list has more than a 10% downside it’s time to do a positive self-assessment. Go all the way in noting and focusing on your strengths and abilities and how you can be the ideal solution.
By doing this self-assessment, you will likely discover that you are vastly under-appreciating, applying, and expressing your strengths, talents, and abilities.
Once you have assessed, gut-check it. Are you indeed overstating it or is it a little uncomfortable because you have been understating it? If it’s a little uncomfortable but nevertheless true, it’s a sign you’re getting there.
Focus on the positives and elevate them in your mind and expressions to the point where you start to feel a little bit like you’re overstating it. When you feel that, you know you’re on the right track.
When I was in a professional transition period I hired a resume writer. Beyond getting a beautiful resume, I discovered how much I was undervaluing and understating my strengths.
I considered many of my skills, talents, and experience to be easy, obvious, and just plain ordinary. As my resume writer pointed out, “They may be that to you. To others they are magic.”
This was an epiphany. She was right!
Things that seem natural to me (writing, ideating, performing, strategizing) are perceived as amazing by many people and certainly sought after by employers and clients.
There is also a matter of context. After filling out a huge questionnaire and reviewing the first draft, I bristled at how she had expressed some of my qualifications.
- In charge of planning and managing all aspects of the client engagement lifecycle.
- Collaborated and led (with full creative and business autonomy) in multiple roles — executive producer, creative director, producer, writer, theatrical director, director, speech coach, and major account manager (at the C-level).
I thought, “Wow. Who is this guy?” She pointed out that each and every item was absolutely true, accurate and legit.
Boom. I learned to not undervalue or under express my talents and abilities.
Many of us don’t want to come off as boisterous, braggadocios or self-aggrandizing. Absolutely you want to avoid that (you’re also being judged on what you will be like to work with).
But if you’ve got it, flaunt it. You are not serving potential clients and employers by holding back and you are certainly not serving yourself.
If you believe you are potentially the right person for the job or project then prove it and project the confidence that employers desire.
It is also critical to assign value to those skills, talents, and experience. What is the value and benefit to that employer given their needs and challenges? Do not ever assume the receiver of your information is going to connect the dots. Odds are they won’t.
Therefore, it is up to you to tell your story, clearly and honestly and STRONGLY. Put forth what you are capable of and what value you will bring to their effort.