Communication Conjugation by Janis Murray
What Do You Bring to the Table? . . . . . Hmmmmmm
Winter break is a time of new beginnings. College applicants seeking merit scholarships will soon face critical interviews that could mean the difference between no help, or a $400,000 – 4 year, free ride including internships . . . and everything in between. College juniors will seek summer internships, while seniors will write that first critical resume for employment. No pressure here, folks!
For each, I have one message. Have a message! You need to state clearly who you are, and what you can offer as a Citizen of the World. You cannot start an effective resume or prepare for any interview without contemplating this central truth first. It is the engine without which the car doesn’t start. Daunting? Yes. Just ask the 55 year old suddenly facing downsizing and job hunting again. Writing possibly his first new resume in 30 years, he must answer again, “What do I bring to the table?”
The answer requires you to step out of your own shoes, and look at what’s on that table where you seek a seat. What does this scholarship committee want? Excellence, of course, but in what? Leadership? Community Service? Sports? And how do the qualities they seek blend in priority? They tell you in what they publish on web sites, so doing your research is critical. The same is true with job hunting. According to a recent Accountemps survey of 1,000 senior managers, the most common mistake candidates make during job interviews is that they don’t know enough about the company. If ten minutes into the interview, they ask you, “What’s our stock price today?” and you don’t know, the interview may continue, but your chance is essentially over.
I see this repeatedly in my practice. Emerging professionals often do not read the job descriptions in their fields in detail. These descriptions are legal statements worthy of attention, BEFORE you attempt a resume, cover letter, or seek a “meet and greet” at a college career fair.
So this winter break, reflect on who you are and what you have to offer to a potential decision maker. Think of solid examples that prove what you can do. Discuss this with family and friends who know you well. Grandparents are especially insightful; they’ve been through it all. Then, we write your resume and prepare for that interview with purpose clear . . . with a message the world will want to hear.
Copyright 2016 by Janis Murray
All rights reserved.