I am re-reading Michelle Obama’s new book, Becoming. It’s really good. I am not the only one who thinks so. It was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 20 weeks.
She has had the chance to support, counsel and mentor many, many people. One of the things she often asks is “what is your super power?”
I know it sounds trite but this is a really important concept when you are looking for your next role, especially when you are employed.
When you have to balance your day job and your outside-work responsibilities, finding time to look for another job is a huge challenge. You want to make sure you are investing that precious time in the best way possible.
It is essential that you start by figuring out exactly what it is that you do. I am not talking about your job title or your daily responsibilities but what you actually do. I don’t mean something vague like “I solve operational problems”. First of all, who will understand what you really mean by that and second, doesn’t everyone do that?
I mean the real meat and potatoes of what you do. Here are some examples.
- I create and implement policies in a complicated environment.
- I pull together subject matter experts to solve customer escalations.
- I hold people accountable in a fast paced organization.
You can add words to make it reflect your own specifics but you get the gist.
This exercise serves two purposes. It sets you apart from the crowd and also allows people to get a handle on how you might fit into their organization.
Here is how this concept worked for me. When I describe myself as a Recruiter, people just nod. Everyone knows a recruiter. (For better or for worse…..). But if I say that I find people for strategic and demanding roles in manufacturing and industrial environments, that usually gets a thoughtful eyebrow lift as they process what I have said.
It’s that stop-and-think-about-me thing that you want to create. That’s how you get noticed and stand apart from the crowd. And in the job market, that’s the secret sauce.