By María T. Gutierrez
Human Resources Specialist
Are you comfortable discussing your professional accomplishments with prospective employers, supervisors, or other professionals? When called on to enumerate your strengths, do you feel that speaking about your talent is not only hard—but a little painful?
You are not alone.
The truth is that when you are being interviewed, you are being asked to boast. So put any fear aside and wholeheartedly explain your expertise, how you have applied it, and how you are going to use your abilities and experience to benefit your employer.
Following are a few exercises you can do tonight to help beef up your confidence so you can nail that next interview.
1. Make a list of your accomplishments.
- Take your time. Think back through your career and list all of the way and times that you contributed to projects, initiated effective actions, and managed parts of a project.
- Flesh out the list. Describe in detail how these things added value to your department, organization, or group. List things you did that make you stand out.
- Add in the details. Complete your list by adding the specifics of each accomplishment to back-up each item—including dates, times, names of project managers, and all the details about how you contributed to business initiatives.
2. Sell Your Strengths
This list will be very useful for your next exercise, because now you see—in black and white—exactly what you have already accomplished in your career. I like to think of this as uncovering the hidden treasures of your talents. This is important because far from boasting or bragging about your abilities, this approach enables you to validate your skills and preferences, and enhance your resume.
- Make a list of all the jobs you have held. Below each job, list the accomplishments for which you received recognition, such as praise from a superior, awards, or other special mentions. Include your proudest achievements—especially if your efforts resulted in outcomes that can be measured such as increasing efficiency, adding revenue, or enhancing customer satisfaction.
- Read your list to another professional whom you trust. This person can be your de facto ‘coach,’ and their sole mission is to provide you with honest feedback. Ask him or her to evaluate your list in terms of your contributions and accomplishments in each of your positions. Are they worth mentioning? Should you provide more detail? Which may be important for your future plans?
- Encourage your coach to probe. The more you can honestly talk about your accomplishments and uncover other interesting contributions, the better.
3. Rediscover your hidden abilities.
Take the time to review each one of your successes, especially those that had a positive effect or impact in your workplaces.
The most important items on the list can be transferred to your resume. Review the other items to see where you’d like to do some more work on your skills.
About María Gutierrez
María Gutierrez launched her private practice in 2010. Her 25 year career in HR includes serving in a variety of positions in Latin America, Europe, and the United States. Her expertise is in managing and directing professionals in the fields of hospitality, procurement, and healthcare. Her strengths include recruiting, training, performance management / coaching, and in the use of personality assessments. For more information, visit specialtyhr.com.