Job Search Strategy – Getting a Different Perspective

What is it that others see about you, that you are unaware of? Most people doing a job search or career change start by doing a self assessment. Another way to get some ideas of your skills, talents and gifts is to ask friends and current or former work colleagues what they see as your strengths too. Getting a different perspective can be extremely helpful.

Years ago when I started my coaching business I went to a meeting with other coaches. We did an exercise where each of us had a piece of paper taped to our backs. We were told to walk around and write a word on each person’s paper that described what we appreciated most about that person.

My list was long and had words most of which were not surprising to me but the one that stood out as different was “practical”-not a word I would have come up with about myself.

As you begin or continue a job search it is important to be able to differentiate yourself from other candidates. In my coaching practice I have my clients ask 5 to 10 friends, managers, and/or work colleagues to identify 5 of their (the client’s) strengths and/or skills. They do this in an email. This exercise can really be validating. My clients often feel really valued by the responses.

Of course you don’t have to accept as accurate what others tell you but it is a good idea to ask others if you disagree. Initially I rejected the idea of “practical”.

The more I discussed it with others including my coach the more I could see how right it was. Friends and colleagues said they valued and appreciated my practical approach and often came to me to request honest feedback on an idea. (Still do!)

If you are looking for ways to energize or reenergize your job search, try asking friends for feedback on your strengths, skills and talents. It may allow you to see yourself from a different perspective that could pay off big time.

Take Action:

1. What attributes are missing in your list of strengths, values, and talents that others see in you?

2. Make a list of between 5 and 10 friends, work colleagues, and managers.

Send an email message to each person on your list explaining what you are doing and ask them to list 5 words that describe you. Give them a date by which you would like them to email you back.

3. Read and think about the responses. Any surprises? Do you agree with what people said? If not get some feedback from others. Can you incorporate any of these strengths in your resume, elevator speech or in your responses at interviews?