Claire writes: ‘When we bought our car, all I knew was that it would be a supermini with room for 4 people and good fuel consumption. Being available in red was desirable but not essential! If that had been the final criteria, it would have been very difficult to chose between the makes we looked at – Citroen, Peugeot, Skoda, Renault etc. What allowed us to make an informed choice was that each garage was able to clearly communicate what they felt the added value was in their car. And we did a test drive. So we had to choose between interiors, boot space and leg room. On the way to buy the Toyota Yaris which fulfilled all the criteria except boot space, we stopped off at the Honda garage because it was raining. It was the leg room and the magic seats which made us buy the Honda. You can fold the back seats up or down. We didn’t know we needed that, but realised it would mean we could fit a bike in the back… or a large plant… or a big box of training materials.
When employers advertise for posts, they advertise the generic basics which are essential for the job. When we apply, we need to be really clear how we fit that and also what added value we bring so that they can decide who is the best fit for the job. That means that you need to be crystal clear what you bring before you even fill out the application. If you only answer the questions you are asked, there may be a significant piece of information which you forget to include. Until you are clear what you bring, the potential employer will not be able to find it out from you – however hard they try. Especially if you are changing sectors or applying for a different type of role. That’s why we spend a considerable amount of time with individuals and groups facing job changes simply asking: So what did you do? If you have a job change coming up, do you know all the generic skills you bring? And what evidence you have for them? It’s worth investing time to find that out BEFORE you start approaching employers.
And if you don’t know what you’re thinking unless you speak, don’t waste time siting staring at a blank computer screen or white paper… enlist a listening partner – a friend, colleague or a coach.
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