Many people find it difficult to recognise the value they offer to current or future employers. It’s something I see surprisingly frequently when coaching. Some are too modest. Others have trouble in simply identifying their talents. This usually impacts their self-esteem and stops them from selling themselves effectively on their CV and during interviews. It can also prevent them from asking for the promotion or the salary they truly deserve.
If you are struggling to recognise your talents, there are several questions you can ask yourself to become more aware of them, and to completely appreciate your value in the workplace.
1) What positive feedback have I received at work in the past?
This can be from anyone. Your boss. A senior director. The CEO. Your colleagues. Your team. The cleaner. What was the feedback and what was it for? Write it down. This is no time to be modest. Any time you heard a “Good job”, “Well done”, “Nice work”, “Well managed” or even a simple “Thank you”, means you did something that was appreciated. What was it? What qualities and skills did you show at the time that got you such recognition?
2) What am I good at?
If you have some idea of what you are good at in your job, then great. Write it down. If like many people I have worked with, you find yourself saying, “I didn’t do more than any other good employee in my position would do”, then maybe you are really not fully appreciating your unique capabilities.
In this instance, write down all the things you are good at. And I mean everything. Whether it’s building model helicopters, playing sport, helping the local community or styling your poodle’s hair. Then ask yourself – what makes me so good at this? Is it because you have great attention to detail? You’re a great motivator? You care about others? You’re great with colours?! Come up with as many reasons as possible and write them all down.
3) What do I like doing?
I am still amazed at how uncomfortable the question “What are you good at?” can make some people. For some, they simply do not recognise their own talents. For others, they have some idea of what they are good at, but lack conviction and fear coming across as arrogant – paralysing them into saying nothing. If the question “What are you good at?” makes you feel uncomfortable, start with “What do I like doing?” Generally speaking, we tend to like the things we’re good at. Or at least the things we don’t suck at. So once you have an idea of what you like doing, ask yourself “What do I like specifically about it?” (e.g. I get to dye my poodle’s hair all sorts of colours), “How good am I at it? (pretty good!)” and “What makes me good at it? (I have an amazing eye for colour and great colour co-ordination skills)”. Again, write down as many as possible.
4) When have I used these skills in my career?
Look for examples throughout your career where you have put the skills and qualities from questions 1 -3 to use. For example, having great colour co-ordination and an ability to assess efficiency may have helped you turn an extremely complex filing system into a very simple one!
5) What positive changes did I bring about (or what great things did I achieve) for myself/my team/my company by using these skills?
This is where you really begin to understand your value. If you can see how your amazing talents helped your role, your team or your company, then you are well on your way to fully appreciating why any employer would be lucky to have you! Think of examples where your skills:
- Made or saved the company money (e.g. creating a new process or system that decreased time spent on admin-related tasks, allowing for greater focus on sales)
- Saved the company/your boss/your team time (e.g. by changing or creating a procedure allowing for greater efficiency and increased productivity)
- Increased team morale and motivation (which led to increased productivity)
- Created a better working environment (which increased morale, leading to increased productivity)
Another way of looking at it is by asking yourself: what would have happened to your department/your company if you had not used those skills?
Be specific and quantify where you can (e.g. “Effectively streamlined several accounting processes, decreasing time spent on month-end closing by 2 days)
Make sure all of the recent examples (last 8 years) are on your CV and in the answers you have prepared for interviews. These are the reasons why employers will hire you. If you can do these great things for your previous employers, then they will see you can do these things for them.
If you are looking for a pay rise or a promotion, go into the meeting with your boss with these examples at your fingertips. Show them how much you have done for the business and they will see how much they need you. And if they need to pay you more or promote you to keep you, they will!
About the Author
Zeta Yarwood is recognised as a leading Career Coach and NLP Life Coach in Dubai, helping individuals across the world to achieve success in all areas of their lives. With a degree in Psychology and over 10 years’ experience in coaching, management and recruitment – working for multinational companies and award-winning recruitment firms – Zeta is an expert in unlocking human potential. Passionate about helping people discover their strengths, talents and motivation, Zeta lives to inspire others to dream big and create the life and career they really want.