Let’s Create an Inventory of Your Professional Assets and Marketable Skills
It’s week two in our six-part Value Series. As women (and especially as wives and mothers), it’s sometimes difficult to define our value succinctly. Being a mom and a wife is often a thankless job. And while we don’t necessarily seek praise, if we’re going to work from home, we do need to be able to regularly take an inventory of your own personal and professional assets and articulate them in a way that’s meaningful to employers and clients. So, today let’s focus on just that – identifying and articulating your professional value.
A Short Definition of Professional Value
Forget what you’ve learned about every person having intrinsic value. That’s a given. We don’t need to rehearse that.
Your professional value is the value you bring to the market place. In order to succinctly articulate your value and build a strong brand around your offering, you have to be able to own up to who you are and what you’ve done. Today’s exercise is about creating an inventory of your professional assets. This is actually a two-part process. We’re covering the first few exercises in this post.
Value is often confused with potential, and potential is essentially meaningless until it’s actualized.
Value Exercise #1 – Show me what you’re working with
Without using your resume to guide you, write down every paid job you’ve ever had no matter what it was. You will have to focus and remember to accomplish this and that’s good. This exercise is about focus. Go job by job, year by year and recall what your positions and job duties were. Start with your very first job and write down the following:
• Your title
• The name of the company at which you worked
• At least 4 duties of your job
The objective here is to get a real assessment of your experience and skill set by looking for the value in each position you’ve held, not just the ones that you think were important enough to list on your last resume.
How to list your duties: You may be tempted to cop out. You may just want to list “cashiering” as a sole job duty then say, “That’s all I did; I can’t think of anything else.” When you’re tempted to do that, break down your job responsibilities. For instance, cashiering involves customer service, product knowledge, knowledge of national SKU codes, counting the drawer, completing transactions… get my drift?
You can see a sample of what my version of this first exercise looks like by clicking here.
Value Exercise #2 – Create Quantifiable Achievements
On another sheet of paper, list one accomplishment you achieved while in each of the positions you listed. So for instance, let’s say you cashiered for a year and in all that time, your register came up short by a penny or a quarter or something twice. If you worked full time, five days a week, your accomplishment can be that during your service, you maintained 99% accuracy in reconciling your register at the end of your shift.
Or let’s say you had problems with 7 mean customers and you worked 260 days. 260 days, 7 challenging days… your customer satisfaction rate was something like 97%. Quantify things whenever you can. But don’t make stuff up. The truth is always better.
You can see a sample of what my version of exercise #2 looks like by clicking here.
Value Exercise #3 – Remember Your Other Interests
The last part of this exercise is to write down your education – courses you’ve taken, schools you’ve attended, certificates and degrees you’ve earned. Add any additional experiences such as volunteering, internships, hobbies, etc. Include any extracurricular activities, honors, awards and the like.
As I once heard Brian Tracy say, “Everything counts.”
Own your real-life experiences
Let me say this. I read a lot of business blogs. Many of them contain great information by women who have never been where some of us have been. I’ve worked beside C-level executives in Fortune 500 companies and I’ve also worked beside functional dope fiends who nod off while working. Real life is not a sterile package wrapped in ‘corporate blue’ paper. Real life has a variety of colors.
This is a private exercise so when you do it, write down everything – things you’re proud of and the things you’d change if you could. You don’t have to feel like your job history doesn’t cut the mustard. Not all experiences should be repeated, but all experiences have value.
Go ahead and laugh out loud
When I did this exercise a few years ago, I remembered for the first time in years that I had been an elected public official! I once ran for office just to see my name on the ballot and people actually voted me into office.
Go ahead and LOL that one. It is HILARIOUS that people voted for me. I was in my 20s back then. Please don’t hold that against me. Even though I did it for the sake of vanity, remembering that I had once been elected to office gave me pause. It was one of those, “Wait… who am I really?” kinda moments. And you’d d better believe that is now an accomplishment that I sport in the Key Accomplishments section on my resume.
It’s going to take some time to get everything done. This isn’t a quick process. If you absolutely positively need to use your resume after your initial effort because you know you’ve missed things, do so. We’ll continue this conversation in a few days when you have your lists in-hand.
Stay with me. You’re about to see yourself in a whole new light and I promise you the trip is worth the effort.