I don’t mean just what suit you would wear, what pictures you might have on your desk (if you have a desk), what your signature block might look like on emails? These things come in time.
What I do mean is how you bring VALUE to a prospective employer. It is about how you will bring your skills, capabilities and expertise to the table. How you will communicate one-on-one with your colleagues or in group settings. What people will be saying about your work and your contribution. It is about how you see yourself.
When you picture yourself in a new position or role it should be outcome based. Not superficially connected to “stuff”. What outcomes are you delivering or driving? This provides the right foundation for clearly seeing what you do really, really well each and every time and being known for that contribution. Outcomes are what matters; what you are paid for in most cases.
So you may be asking, why does picturing myself in the role or position matter? Why does it matter when I am writing or updating my resume and sending out cover letters to prospective employers?
Don’t I just need to know enough about the company and the role I am applying for to capture that essence in the communications? Based on my own experiences looking for new opportunities and in working with people on that journey I believe there is more to landing the position you desire than just knowing how to put your contributions in words. It is about finding and using the right words.
Taking the time to imagine how you will add value and excel gives you the right words (both written and verbal) to communicate to prospective employers how you will contribute to their organizations success. That is the name of the game – telling the story of how you will contribute. Don’t expect the employer to do the work to picture that. You need to paint that picture for them in some cases.
Take a few moments to do this very tangible exercise. Sit down at your computer or do it the old-fashioned way (remember the pen and paper?) and start writing your story. Picture yourself coming to work, working with a team on a project or researching a new trend – whatever the position is about. Think about how you capture new ideas, create documents for communicating business cases, craft emails that will be compelling and action-oriented. Imagine your conversations with prospective customers. Picture how an accomplishment feels to your team, your boss – you. See how you react in a difficult personnel manner or when making a controversial or risky decision.
With those observations in hand, review your resume. Does it convey who you are?
Would a prospective employer see you in that resume they way you see yourself? You should be able to convey your value through your words. If you can’t picture yourself in that role, how do you expect someone else to?