On Day 22 of the #60Day Challenge we created a list of the skills you’ll need to excel in your chosen career. On Day 23, we compared that list to your current skill set and added “yes”, “maybe” or “no” for each skill. Today, Day 24 of the Challenge, we help you sell the skills you noted as a “yes” – meaning you feel you’ve mastered that skill – to a potential employer…
36 days from now, Amy – the fictitious job seeker helping us with our “skills assessments” these last couple days – is going to be sitting across the table from a recruiter. This will be her first interview since completing the #60Day Challenge, and she’s anxious to put everything she’s learned to the test.
Eventually, the recruiter – who noticed Amy has mentioned her passion for relationship building and social media on her cover letter, resume and LinkedIn profile – asks a question she expects to stump the candidates (which is not a reflection on Amy at all, but on all candidates in general):
“You say you have a passion for social and use that to build personal relationships. How would you put those skills to work as Community Manager here at ABC Company?”
Amy will think back to Day 24 of the #60Day Challenge and, far from stumped, will answer confidently:
“I’ve been using social media to build my network for three years now. I’ve seen the power of building professional relationships, first online and then face-to-face over coffee or on a Skype call. As my influence has grown, I’ve leveraged my network to self-learn everything I can about community building, using social media for good and connecting others whose interests closely align and who really should meet each other. When that happens, even though I may not benefit directly right now, I smile… knowing I’ve done a good thing.
That is the passion, and the outlook, I bring to this role. I make things happen, by connecting others and by serving as an ambassador for issues I care about, like the mission of ABC Company.”
And why will Amy’s answer leave a huge impact on the recruiter, making Amy a stand-out candidate? Because Amy, 36 days ago, went through each skill she had marked as a “yes” and wrote down, wordsmithed and perfected an answer that would enable her to shine at moments just like this.
And that is what you are going to do today. You’ll write a three- to five-sentence paragraph that thoroughly supports your mastery of the skills you said “yes” to yesterday.
As you’re reviewing all the “yes” skills, keep these hints in mind:
- Don’t wordsmith as you write down your thoughts… just get something – anything – down on paper; you can wordsmith later knowing this isn’t going to be a memorizing task… but, like your elevator pitch… a process that allows you to be conversational
- Do not be tempted to use clichés when forming these substantiating paragraphs; instead, use real-world examples, impact statements and storytelling; wherever possible: quantify
- If you find you can’t write 3 to 5 sentences for each skill, consider the possibility that you haven’t yet mastered that skill well enough… and move it to a “maybe” on your skills list; if you’ve truly gained that skill, you should be able to state how you learned, why it matters, and how it would help a potential employer
- If a particular skill, which you know you’ve mastered, is stumping you – move on to the next; do not allow any one skill to stop your progress; come back to it later
When you’re done with each “yes” skill, go back and wordsmith a bit. Then, practice articulating your support statement to a mentor, friend or your current boss. While you are talking with them, ask about the skills that may have stumped you a bit. How do they feel you can best articulate mastery of those skills? Should you move that one or two back to a “maybe”? The more you talk with them, the more you’ll learn about your current skill set… and yourself.
Day 24 of the #60Day Challenge is, indeed, a challenge. This won’t be easy. Take a deep breath and dive in. You’re about to learn a lot about what you think you already know.
Tomorrow, we tackle the “maybe” and “no” items that remain… and help you figure out how best to convert them to a “Yes!” on your list of required skills.