Who ever thought that a virus would determine your work and career? Professionals are forced to work away from the office, cut off from their coworkers, customers and managers, and in some cases unemployed. Some careers are postponed for a year or so, while other careers are changed forever.
It’s time for some critical review and decision making. Few of us like to critically assess our jobs, performance or career choices. But some of the highest paid professionals count on critical feedback to improve their performance. Superstar athletes have a coach and fans that gives them immediate feedback, famous actors have a coach and an audience, apprentices and journeymen have a master performer to learn from, and successful business leaders usually had a mentor.
Critical feedback improves results to help achieve realistic expectations. One way to learn is by assessing mistakes, then finding a new and better solutions. Insecure individuals may not want to hear negative feedback even though it could be information that would be the most helpful. Successful people seek out those who will tell them the hard, cold truth, by which they can improve and thereby advance their careers.
Most high performers are seeking new and better ways to improve. In that way, dissatisfaction is an asset. High performers set themselves apart from all others by being flexible to change. This can take the form of a higher degree, additional certifications, seeking a career that is in high demand with a low supply, take on-line courses, join industry associations or study new techniques or applications in their field of expertise.
Those who are fully satisfied with their lot in life may not act to improve it. The problem with this approach to a career strategy, is that over time they fall behind, get stale with the same skills or doing the same thing and hope to get better results.
So, what differentiates you from all others? What sets you apart? It must be unique enough that only a small number of professionals can match. When you apply to an open position, there is only one reason why you get hired and the others don’t: You have a skill, experience, or result that the hiring manager wants, that other candidates don’t.
How do you find out what that “unique something” is? The answer is to assess open job position descriptions. First, you need to match at least 75% of the initial 10 items listed. Second, your experiences need to demonstrate solutions to the issues of the hiring manager. Both have to be demonstrated with measurable results from past jobs. If you can’t add value, you’re not going to be considered.
You need to know what the differentiators are that set you apart from all others. If you don’t know, you better find out. Spend less time cultivating activities that are not needed. Focus on the outcomes that hiring managers require in order for them to meet their goals.
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