Are you a serial entrant into the job security sweepstakes? That’s a nice way of asking you how many positions you’ve had in the last 10 years. If your professional resume embarrasses you as a chronicle of what you feel are your professional short-comings, perhaps you are focusing your job searches (and your job, once you get hired) on: 1) whomever and wherever you can get a job; 2) the title of the position which you feel entitled to pursue, based on your education and certifications; 3) a script in your head of “how it’s supposed to be, and who I’m supposed to work for, and how I’m supposed to play my role” that you formed in grad school (even if you are not anywhere near being a recent grad); or 4) positions that are supposed to add to your resume (receiving more than you are giving) instead of showcasing what you already bring to the table (giving more than you are receiving).
How do you explain your professional resume to a future employer or a client who is checking you out on LinkedIn? For many of the folks I coach, their resumes represent a testimonial to their inability to meet someone else’s rules and regulations, goals, and objectives.
Which is probably true; because that’s what seems to always happen after about 18 months on the job or into a consulting contract. But your resume only tells half of the story.
Perhaps you first need to explain your resume to yourself.
You have a choice to make. Face your own professional history or keep sweeping details of yourself under the carpet on LinkedIn.
Your professional resume, website, writing, needs to tell your real story. Instead, most folks write status quo yada-yada which looks like everyone else who’s caught in the same endless loop of serial re-employment.
Are you hiding parts of your career profile while hanging out your shingle as an entrepreneur, simply because you have convinced yourself that you are unemployable? Ultimately you may find out that you are a gloriously talented dabbler. Until you understand how dabbling does and doesn’t fit in to your career, you will continue to be frustrated and discouraged. Even if you are your own boss.
Ask yourself what you bring to your clients’, colleagues’ and company’s tables, time and time again? You know, the one thing that you are really, really good at? That’s your core competency. That’s what you are hired to showcase, even if you are a newbie.
Your core competency isn’t your job title. It doesn’t mean fulfilling your job description. Your core competency is what makes your processes of research, information gathering, communication, and delivery unique and valuable to your organization, your customers’, and your colleagues’. Your core competency is exquisitely niche-focused: you own your space.
Yet you tend to undervalue – if not completely ignore – your core competencies.
Your core capabilities are why people hire you. They are why people do business with you. It’s the entrepreneurial aspect you bring to the table. Until you recognize your spirit of entrepreneurship, and how it positively and negatively influences your job choices and performance, you are going to be stuck in status quo corporate jobs spinning your wheels.
Because you aren’t leveraging your entrepreneurship effectively.
In fact, you are probably making a lot of end runs around management, in an attempt to quickly and efficiently problem-solve. Because you are bored with what, to you, is rote work. And it is.
But it’s the rote work you thought you could put up with when you got hired. Because that job title sounded like what you should be doing at this point in your career.
And unless you are an uber C-level individual, your job title usually doesn’t involve “Identifying and Solving Universal Problems Throughout The Organization”. Which is how your company ends up perceiving you, in the end.
Since corporate ecosystems abhor change, your head becomes the first one to roll when there’s a witch hunt. Because you were judged to be a trouble-maker when you were merely being an entrepreneurial dabbler and flexing your intellectual “what if?” muscles.
How many of us leverage our career choices on the fulcrum our core competencies?
How many of us scrutinize our skill sets, compare them with work history within various status quo, risk averse corporate cultures? How many of us are frustrated by working with companies who allow us to use only a small percentage of everything we can throw at them? How many of us mistake involvement in corporate politics with job security?
Until you focus on how the one thing that you do really well creates value for everyone, you will end up with another chapter in your employment story. Entering employment, or even deciding to form a business, without having created your own set of specifications for the type of company and culture into which that one thing that you do really well could fit into, sets you up for the inevitable.
Take the time to determine what your core capabilities are: the skills, habits, values, attitudes that you always bring to the professional space, time and time again. Focus on those.
Then you’ll stop dabbling and capture and harness your value. You’ll write a new chapter in your story.
Babette Ten Haken provides technical people and other sellers a solid strategy for how to explain a product, its benefits, and its value in ways that buyers can easily understand and sellers can comfortably present. She gets people together who are often on opposite sides of the table, like engineers and sales people or entrepreneurs and investors. Her company, Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, works with technology-intensive entrepreneurs and manufacturers, focusing on revenue-generating business development strategies to take your business to the next level. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? was named 2012 Finalist, Top Sales & Marketing Awards.