Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Past Successes: Path to Future Success

So you see the news and it gives you the blues. And you wonder how you can successfully find a new job now.

But yes, people are getting hired. Sure, the process takes longer. You have to be better prepared and more active in networking than ever.

But first, think about your past. Pay attention to the good parts. Stop and remember your successes. What have you done at work, at school, in volunteering, in community groups that really made you feel good?

It is your successes that create the pattern for your future success. Doing what you enjoy and you do well is the key to your next job. You need to remember your strengths, your success.

Focus on your successful times: what was going on? What worked? Why did it make you feel good? There are common elements in your successes to help guide you forward. Once you have thought about a number of past successes you can begin to see what is important, so you can succeed elsewhere.

Wander back through your history. Focus on those events that made you feel good -- and write each down. Make each a small story of what the situation or task you faced was, what you did, and what the results were.

Then look at them all - what patterns do you see? What does each story tell you about the places you succeed in or the types of bosses you work best with? These become your guide to the next job targets. Do you work best with data or people or things? Do you achieve more doing the work yourself or managing a team? Think of what your stories say about your strengths.

Why do I think this process is so effective? Because, after decades of managing hiring programs and developing career management programs, I know how important a person’s past successes are to that person’s future. Whether you plan to do the same work going forward as you have in the past or you are changing your career focus, it is your pattern of success that will create your future.

  • The common threads you find in your past provide the guidance you need to identify what you need to succeed.
  • A few success stories can be used for a wide range of job search activities, from building a terrific resume to creating a better marketing plan to answering interview questions.

And perhaps most important, when you interview and you can answer a question by telling one of your success stories - you become a far better candidate. This is because your self-confidence shines through. You are talking about real results you have achieved - good for your comfort level and what an employer really cares about. Your body and self-presentation is significantly better without you even being aware of all the changes. The hiring manager or interviewer catches your body language and feels as if you have potential.

Want to know more about how to do this? Here is a video you can learn from.

This guest post is by Patricia A. Frame, Management Consultant, Speaker, & Author.


Rebecca said...

I couldn't agree more about getting a deep and complete understanding of your passions and strengths.

Two things that I find to be useful in addition:

1. Ask a trusted friend or colleague to help you identify your accomplishments, often, we are blind to the things that we do best.

2. Create a RockStar sheet for yourself - its a one page summary / pump up that you can read right before interviews. Its an easy way to make sure you feel confident and prepared.


Patricia Frame said...

The 'RockStar sheet' is a great idea. Have seen other one-page reminder variants but yours sounds far more likely to help. Thanks, patra

Lounge Lizard said...

This sounds like Richard Bolles' seven stories exercise in his book What Color is Your Parachute.