Job Seeker A says to himself: “I didn’t bring anything really special to my work. Sure, I might have done well but it was a long time ago. And it really didn’t require a lot of hard work. It was just easy for me. I can’t really claim to do it well.”
Job Seeker B says to herself: “I really love motivating people and I’m really good at it. I especially love speaking to large groups of people, because I feed off their energy and return it to them. There’s no better feeling than when I know I’ve communicated clearly and effectively.”
Which person do you think is going to be more successful in finding their next job?
I would vote for Job Seeker B. She knows her strengths and her self-talk reinforces those strengths in her mind. She’ll bring that confidence to her entire job search process, from networking to writing cover letters or emails, to interviewing and finally to negotiating her compensation package once she gets an offer.
Job Seeker A, on the other hand, will have a hard time convincing himself, much less any employer, that he has what it takes to do the job in question.
Both of these personas are based on actual clients I have.
Working with Job Seeker A, I’m helping him see that just because something comes easily doesn’t mean it’s less valuable to an employer. In fact, when something comes easily and we enjoy it, it’s probably a talent. And a talent is at the center of what I call your Core Value Proposition – work you really like to do, having an impact that is meaningful to you, and working in a way that’s resonant with your values and work style.
Job Seeker A has a tremendous talent for sales. He engages potential customers so quickly because he has a natural ability to connect with people. His personality is “winning.” People like him. He’s authentic, and doesn’t oversell so people trust him. He puts in an enormous amount of work, yet didn’t realize that counts because he enjoys doing it.
Once Job Seeker A owns his talent, he’ll do extremely well in his job search.
I’m coaching him to talk to himself in a way that recognizes his past success as being based on his talent. That means it hasn’t disappeared. He thinks he hasn’t used it for a few years. My perspective is that he has been using it in slightly different ways and in new contexts, something that he came to see in one of our sessions. Now it’s becoming easier for him to claim his sales ability as a talent.
The next goal is for him to talk positively to himself about his ability to provide value to an employer by using his sales talent and the sales skills he further developed over the years.
He’s the only one who can choose to speak positively about his skills and talents. I coach him and make suggestions and ask questions like “how does it feel to talk to yourself like that?” Ultimately, it’s his choice about how he’ll talk to himself. Based on my coaching of hundreds and hundreds of people, I can say that to be successful in his job search, he’ll have to choose positive self-talk.
How are you talking to yourself about your talents, skills and ability to provide value to an employer?