You’re not a secretary, you’re a diplomat.
You’re not in sales, you’re in solving people’s problems.
Our job titles hide a hundred skills we have at our disposal wherever we need them. We use them as a short-hand label but in reality, they act as a mask to cover up who we are and what we do.
It’s so much easier to just explain who we are by the label of the job and the sector we work in. But what happens if that sector goes into hibernation? Or you get made redundant? Or you just want to pivot your career? That’s the time when you are going to want to Hard Sell Your Soft Skills.
It can be a tough journey to understanding who you are and what skills you really are deploying at work so that you can identify the new opportunities, new career or new clients that are right for you.
Take Joey, a TV editor, she works editing documentaries. It’s what she’s always done. She sees herself as an expert in the technical skills of editing. Her work involves watching and sifting through large volumes of filmed material and cutting these together to construct a clear, logical and succinct story for the documentary.
But what are her soft skills that are relatable to other sectors and roles?
When we probe deeper and look at the processes involved in her work and the skills she has that are beyond the technical, we find a storyteller with a keen eye for important facts, logic and succinct narrative that is customer (audience) focussed. In fact, Joey is one of the best pitch writers I have come across. She can craft a pitch that really drives a message home to an audience. It’s what she’s been trained to do it’s just no-one told her that’s what she really does.
Now she’s understood this Joey has embraced these ‘new-found’ skills and is actively looking for ways she can find new challenges and opportunities and step outside her comfort zone.
Then there’s Martin who trained as a psychotherapist and has a small counselling practice. Before that he had had a high-powered career in training and development but opted to escape the corporate world and follow his passion for helping people. In the process he disregarded his previous skills and focussed solely on the new label he was wearing.
Martin was eager to grow his business but was struggling. His focus on helping with clients’ cognitive distortions meant he was ignoring all the other skills he had to offer.
When challenged to combine the skills from his two careers he realised he could use his counselling skills to help business leaders perform better by improving their thinking patterns to positively impact their work and performance and he was able to grow his business by building on his unique combination of skills.
What happens when you stop using the label of your job title and remove your mask? You become free to delve deep into all the skills that you use to do the work that you do.
Whether an employee, a freelancer or a business owner we all underplay and undersell the soft skills we deploy when we do our work so take some time to reflect on strengths so that you can…