If you can’t toot your own horn who is going to do it for you? The best way, of course, is to have others blow your horn for you. It’s how you do it that’s important.
So, here are three questions that need to be answered:
- 1. WHAT’S THE ONE OR TWO THINGS YOU DO BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE?
- 2. HOW CAN YOU BEST TOOT YOUR OWN HORN?
- 3. HOW TO HAVE OTHERS TOOT YOUR HORN FOR YOU?
WHAT CAN YOU DO BETTER THAN ANYONE? Review your career to date. What are the major themes? Pick out the two or three outstanding accomplishments. What do they have in common? How can you translate those attributes into potential value for a future organization? If you can’t define why you’re the greatest, no one else will be able to either.
Your looking for skills, knowledge or experiences that differentiates you. Others may be able to replicate parts of your background, but what are the two or three items that can’t be replicated. It may be your ticket to a better future. Examples could be: Multiple languages, travel and cultural exchanges, Six Sigma mastery, a higher educational level, professional certificates, awards of merit, industry recognition, published writings, noted research, association leadership, and so on.
HOW CAN YOU BEST TOOT YOUR OWN HORN? Most people are reticent to tell others how great they are, but there are ways to slip it into the conversation or interview. Instead of saying, “Our Reorganization Task Group did a fantastic job and I was the leader!”, you might want to phrase it differently by saying, “I was asked by senior management to design and implement a reorganization plan and lead a cross-functional Task Group. We met or exceeded all of the given objectives”
On your resume, make sure you insert results that place you in a leadership position. Many times those functions or activities that add value are the ones that determine who gets the interview or the job, like, “I was promoted 3 times in 2 years based on my achieving outstanding results”.
HOW OTHERS CAN TOOT YOUR HORN FOR YOU? Here are some suggestions. First, when responding to an interview screen, make sure you have the information to validate and expand on all the details within your resume. The reason they want to talk with you is that something on your resume caught their eye. You’ll want to be able to amplify your answers to make a major impression.
Your references or internal contacts within the hiring organization will be asked to comment on your past performance or results. Prepare a checklist of major results that parallel what the hiring organization is looking for. When your references understand the key requirements of the hiring organization, they can toot your horn about past performances as an objective third party.
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