I’ve worked in professional services recruitment for seven years now and during this time I have been involved in providing feedback for performance reviews and development. When you provide feedback for someone you’re putting them under a microscope to identify the way they work and the value they add to the team. You scrutinise how they execute plans and whether there is any scope for improvement, but you also get a chance to see how conscious they are of their own abilities.
You’d be surprised how often my friends and colleagues understate their capabilities and achievements, especially when doing a self-assessment or applying for a new role. Sometimes this can be about modesty, but a lot of the time it’s because they don’t recognise just what experience they have and its value. We all possess a lot more expertise than we give ourselves credit for and we just need help to unveil these when looking for a new job or negotiating a promotion.
So how do you stop underselling yourself and start identifying your skills value? It’s a lot easier than you think. Your skills value can be broken down into four sets: Credibility, Reliability, Sociability and Adaptability.
Once you have recognised these, you will be able to leverage them as evidence of your development or as examples to help you find another role.
Your Credibility Value
At work do you get asked for advice on how to complete a task or what’s the best course of action for assignments? Or are you responsible for training new employees? If you can answer yes to these questions it demonstrates that you have credibility amongst your peers and management. Your ability to break down an activity to its fundamentals to show others how to do it themselves means that your knowledge is trusted, and you are engaging enough to train others. It’s a strength that is highly sought after by employers and you should always include examples of it in performance reviews and on your CV.
Your Reliability Value
Do you arrive on time to work and come prepared to meetings? Can you find your way around a neighbourhood easily? Punctuality, self-sufficiency and taking initiative will always be great selling points for you when applying for new job or leveraging a promotion. If you can be relied on to complete a task, support your team or lead a project you will become indispensable to any company that you work at. When completing reviews or job applications include examples of times you have been given additional responsibilities that you either volunteered for or were elected to do, because it will show that your manager can rely on you to take on these extra duties successfully.
Your Sociability Value
Are you good at telling stories and engaging with people? Are you comfortable striking up a conversation? The ability to weave a narrative or speak to others easily can be incredibly effective communication skills. It showcases that you can articulate ideas, build rapport with and influence people from different backgrounds. Sociability can be applied in many aspects of work, as well as being a great skill to display in interviews. One of the key factors hiring managers assess candidates on is how they can add value to their team. If you speak confidently and engage an interviewer during an interview it will give them an indication of how you would fit within the culture of their company. Always remember to give examples of the ways you have interacted with team members or stakeholders at work. Interpersonal skills are highly transferable, and you are showing your interviewer that you have more to offer than just your experience and qualifications.
Your Adaptability Value
Can you adapt your approach when working with different people? Do you work well under changing circumstances? In most jobs you will encounter a wide range of people and you’ll need to be able to vary your working style to work with them effectively. You’ll also need to be able to deal with changes in circumstances, environment and business demands to ensure efficiency, productivity and harmony. This doesn’t mean that you will need to change who you are or compromise to accommodate others all the time. The ability to successfully adapt at work is more to do with how responsive you are and whether you can be flexible in communicating ideas, implementing plans and demonstrating team work or leadership.
Don’t Underestimate the Value of Soft Skills
All of the skills discussed here are 100% transferable to complete a variety of tasks in any role you take on. In my experience within professional services recruitment, interviewers often have difficulty differentiating between candidates because so many of them have similar qualifications and backgrounds. What sets a great candidate apart is their soft skills. A lot of interviews include competency or technical questions, however it’s a good idea to be aware that the interviewer is using the interaction as a sense check from their perspective as well. Interviewers are assessing not just your expertise but also how you will work with the rest of the team and the management, after all, you may be working directly with them. Great candidates consider their demeanour and can guide the interviewer through a scenario that emphasises their abilities by illustrating how adaptable, flexible and proactive they can be.
Don’t underestimate how valuable these traits are to prospective employers, they are looking for the people that will enhance their team and will work well with colleagues. These are all skills that many of you use daily and you can give strong examples when applying for a new role or asking for a promotion. Once you have recognised and identified your skills value, you will be able to move to the next step in your career with confidence.