Whether you are applying for a job and trying to get noticed, or actively interviewing for a role, you need to stand out and proclaim to the company why they would be stupid to pass you up. What is unique about you? Why should they interview or hire you versus the sea of resumes and people?
#1 Embrace Who You Are.
You may have met someone at some point in your life and just felt like something seemed off about them. You might have even thought, “they were trying too hard,” or “they seemed fake.” It’s amazing how intuition can give you these signals.
The same applies to you. Maybe you really wanted to be accepted by a group, like a sorority or fraternity, and you realized you were trying so hard to be what you THOUGHT they were looking for. This applies to the job hunt too.
On the flip side, you may have experienced times where you were completely yourself. You didn’t care about the outcome. Maybe you went to a job fair and figured you had nothing to lose. You would likely never see these people again, so you walked in and communicated with the recruiters with full transparency, a “this is me” attitude. Then, surprise, they were curious to learn more. Your confidence in who you are, embracing yourself for what you have to offer helped you find people and an organization that saw your value and knew you would be a perfect addition to their team.
#2 Get Curious.
Maybe you can’t relate to these examples. But, do they give you an idea of how this has or could apply to your life? Get curious about who you are, what your strengths are, and how you can provide something that no one else can.
Did you know there is a 1 in 33 million chance of you having the same top 5 results in the same order as someone else when completing Gallup’s CliftonStrengths? Think about that number. Finding the perfect fit really is like finding a needle in the haystack. In the US, you will likely find 9 other people that have your same top 5 in the same order.
Bottom line: people are NOT replaceable, positions are.
So, get curious about your specific strengths. We recommend learning and leading with your top 8.
#3 Develop a StrengthsFirst Mindset.
Despite using the word “strengths” here, it isn’t the end, but rather it’s the beginning. Instead of thinking, “this is my strength, I don’t need to do anything else with it” it is more, “this is my strength and if I invest more time into it I will see greater benefits than if I spent the same amount of time on my weaknesses.”
Once you have the language to describe your strengths, you have a framework or path to help you focus on leveraging your strengths in everything you do. A StrengthsFirst mindset is about putting positive, objective language to how you interpret and react to situations.
Do you have the strengths of woo or positivity? In the classroom, you may have talked a lot because you enjoyed the interactions and helping people have fun in life. But, your teachers may have seen these strengths as a distraction while they were trying to teach the class.
If you and your teacher know your strengths, there are ways to creatively weave them into daily life that benefit you AND those around you. It’s what we call SFO’s or “strengths for others”. It’s the idea that you were created with a certain strengths makeup, just like everyone else has a unique makeup. So, how can we use our strengths to help others thrive with their strengths? Let us NOT create “mini-me’s” but rather embrace the uniqueness and diversity of strengths and thought.
#4 Understand Yourself Enough To Communicate Your Value To Others.
Once you have a good grasp of who you are, what motivates you, what your blind spots might be, and how you can best partner-up with those that have strengths you do not have, it is time to communicate that message.
The amazing thing is this truly applies to all aspects of your life. Do you have a family member that just doesn’t understand you? Does your instructor or coach realize you need structure and consistency and that being too flexible isn’t helping you thrive? Have you had a boss that is purely task-oriented and doesn’t consider the emotions or interpersonal strengths that you value?
Start by posting your top 5 or top 8 strengths on your resume. This will create a curiosity and make it easier for hiring organizations to see that you have the strengths they need and value.
During the interview, be prepared to explain how you use your strengths on a daily basis. Describe the value you can bring to their team with each of your strengths. For example, if you have the strength of harmony and you use it as a strength, you embrace conflict to bring peaceable results. This means that in your role you can sense if the team is hiding behind “artificial harmony” and saying they’re on board when they talk to you, but then complaining about it behind your back. If an organization is struggling with negative or toxin behavior, someone with harmony brings the value of encouraging candid discussions around positive conflict (which must be centered around your mission, vision, values, ideas, and issues…..not personal attacks) and bringing it to the surface to be addressed, instead of letting it fester and grow.
Not everyone is well versed in strengths. Having confidence in who you are, communicating the value you bring, and the environment you need to thrive helps organizations understand that they need you to increase engagement and results.
If you haven’t taken the CliftonStrengths assessment ($20 for your top 5, $50 for your full 34), do that first. Invest in understanding yourself so you can be passionate and engaged in your career and life.
Once you take the assessment, contact Partner2Learn to gain a deeper understand of your strengths and see how they are arranged in our 8 categories of strengths – traction, driving, seeing, interpersonal, lifestyle, wild card, problem identification, and problem solving (versus Gallup’s 4 categories – executing, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking).
Once you feel confident in communicating how these strengths are applied, add them to your resume and incorporate language in your cover letter to grab the organization’s attention.