In the first workshops on career planning and job hunting, highlighting one’s own profile was stressed as important again and again. Why is it so important to work out one’s individual profile? Here I want to use the key-and-lock metaphor I once heard: The job profile an organization is looking for is like a lock. That means the job profile describes a very specific profile of expertise, skills and personal characteristics an organization is missing and thus searching for. Organizations look for the perfect key fitting or rather filling this lock with the described expertise, skills and personal characteristics. Only in the case of an (almost) perfect fit, both the organization and the hired person are satisfied.
Of course, it might be that not all organizations are good in describing what they are really looking for. Thereon, you have no influence. However, you can influence your clarity about your individual profile. In the first instance, clarity about what you have to offer and what you are looking for in a job helps you to identify job postings which might fit to your profile. The online tool “My Individual Development Plan” that might help you in doing this I introduced here.
When being invited to an interview, clarity about your profile helps not only the organization to judge you; it also helps you to judge the organization and the position it is offering in more detail. It allows you to ask the right questions: Is this really the job announced or I expect? How is it to work in this organization? Ask everything which helps you to judge your fitting.
To further encourage your analysis of your individual profile, I collected links to some articles dealing with related topics:
After stressing the importance of personal marketing plan, David Jensen suggests in the Science Career Magazine to make “Challenge-Approach-Results” exercise. It is about writing down challenges you have been confronted with as well as your approach to solve it and the result of your actions. He says: “It’s important to remember that you are much more than a person with a list of classes taken and techniques you’ve learned. Companies don’t care about that. What you really have to offer is reflected in the C-A-R exercise. It’s in the accomplishments you’ve got under your belt and the approaches you took. Even more than that, it’s that promise of the value you can deliver in the future.”
Alaina G. Levine underlines in the Science Career Magazine the same importance of marketing your value “to move into a position of independent research.” She discusses skills which might be valuable to be enhanced “to gain a competitive advantage”, namely leadership and management, team building, communication, and funding. She writes: “The key is keeping a watchful eye out for chances to learn and sharpen your talents and to articulate your value to decision-makers.” Of course, this does not replace to be an exceptional researcher.
Dorothy Tannahill-Moran presents three “personal branding examples” on CAREEREALISM.
Besides these hints, you can make an appointment with me to get further support on working out your individual profile or on dealing with other challenges regarding your job search process!