How do you see yourself? Do you find it easy to explain your achievements, tell others what you’ve done and what you want to do?
At LIKE68, with the expert guidance of Simon Burton, we explored ways of creating CVs that did justice to our careers and discussed the importance of managing our digital reputations. Most of us started by acknowledging how challenging we found the construction of our personal narratives.
There were lots of reasons: some spent their working days just doing the job rather than reflecting on the skills and experience they deployed, others hadn’t revisited their CV for years and were daunted by the prospect of revising and reworking it, and a few people with longer and more varied careers weren’t sure how to shoehorn all they’d done into a couple of pages!
And then there’s the problem of taking ownership of achievements. How do you do that without coming across as an arrogant braggart? Simon explained this was a very British dilemma – he reassured us that even the most experienced and most senior professionals he meets find it difficult not to stumble over the STAR technique. But so many interviews are competency-based, and to get as far as interview your CV will usually have had to pass through relentless screens and filters that focus on keywords and key achievements. Being ready with answers that specify a situation, a task, your actions and the positive results won’t come across as bragging – you’ll simply sound articulate and confident.
As we were all thinking about putting time and effort into laying out our clear, concise, achievement-led, spell-checked, jargon-free compelling CVs….. Simon mentioned another important personal responsibility: “make sure what you say in your CV matches what you’re telling the world about yourself on LinkedIn”. He said most prospective employers will check out your online persona. Of course they will, why wouldn’t they?
That straightforward statement, however, opened a discussion of some seriously profound questions such as “who are you?”, “how are you perceived?”, “what would you like people to think of you?”, “how are you coming across online?”. Sobering stuff. And then there’s the relationship between your professional profile on LinkedIn and how you project yourself on, for example, Facebook and Twitter.
There are plenty of good reasons to actively manage your digital presence. The near certainty that your current or next employer will look you up online is a pretty compelling one.
By the end of the session everyone seemed more determined to actively manage their professional profiles and online interactions. As each person took a turn to speak about themselves, it was inspiring to listen to thoughtful professionals – neither bashful or bragging – clearly explaining their STAR qualities.