Keep the following questions in mind, before you get started:
- What job am I targeting? (if uncertain about your target, focus around skills)
- What skills, knowledge, and experience should I highlight to be considered for the position?
- What business skills do I want to use more/less of?
Know your value
There are several tools available to help you capture your interests, value and skills. If you are interested in learning more about these tools, contact Career Services. You can also follow three simple steps to get you started.
1. Conduct a Skills Inventory
Write down your skills, strengths and assets. Here are a few examples*:
- Visionary with strategic analytical skills
- Practical, articulate, and creative with proven ability to solve difficult business problems
- Lead multidisciplinary teams defining new products, setting project goals, timelines, budgets, and manpower requirements to deliver products to market
- Consistently obtain high performance through leadership and cohesive team building
- Uncommon planning, organization, and conceptual abilities
- Skilled in motivating and managing technical and non-technical teams to achieve desired results
- Actively coach and develop staff with a proven ability to transfer job knowledge and skills to all levels
- Apply sound business strategies and tactics to set and achieve targeted goals
2. Talk to friends, colleagues and former bosses
Take a friend, colleague or former boss out to lunch and ask what they perceive as your greatest strengths (and weaknesses). Give them advanced warning so they have time to develop thoughtful responses. You may be surprised by what they think and introduce ideas you haven't thought of before. Reviewing past performance reviews may also be helpful.
3. Develop PAR statements
The PROBLEM-ACTION-RESULT format has been around for a long time and still works. A PAR statement succinctly describes an accomplishment. Here are the components of a well-written PAR statement:
Problem solved or challenge overcome - i.e. decline in annual sales
Action you took to resolve - i.e. developed and released new product catalog
Result and benefit to organization - increased annual sales by 120% over two year
PAR Statement - Developed and released new product catalog which increased sales by 120% over two years.
Other PAR statement Examples**:
- "Achieved a customer satisfaction rating of 99.9% by developing a high level of proficiency on new software during a town-month systems conversion."
- "Created a performance-based culture, and repositioned the company from a pure distributor to a value-added provider of high-technology products and services. Improved market capitalization and estimated 150%."
- "Identified and evaluated 10 acquisition candidates ranging from $15M to $50M, including due diligence and deal structure development. Two businesses valued at $45M were acquired."
- "Grew market share 50% in one year through branding, value repositioning, product rationalization, and distribution channel strategy implementation.
- "Eliminated $1.6M in system development costs by instituting Six Sigma that achieved record QA metrics while accelerating completions and staff reductions."
- "Led HR due diligence efforts for six acquisitions whose combined revenues exceeded
- $200M. As Regional Board Member, established the standards for effective integration and growth."
- "Pioneered "Homelessness Prevention Program" for at-risk families in Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia. Program has served 5,000 families in it's six year history and has been over 85% successful in keeping families in housing."
- "Entrepreneur who grew three businesses from start-up to $20M in annual sales through effective business planning, creative sales techniques, and innovative marketing."
*Source: Marketing Your Talents, Right Management, 2006
**Source: In Search of the Perfect Job, Lowstuter, 2007