Achievements & Skill Selection:
Everybody loves food, especially Easter eggs Right! Now that I have your attention, let’s take a look at what cooking culinary treats can teach us about creating careers.
All workers rely on special tools to help them create masterpieces in their jobs. For chefs, it’s all about their knives. They take them with them throughout their careers, along with the accompanying sharpener. Without them, they’d be lost.
For a chef, selecting a knife is not an easy task, and the answers don’t come without a lot of research and effort. They have to sift through loads of alien terminology and an overwhelming number of options, before finally finding which ones work best for them. And then there’s the question of which knife for which dish? It’s a rabbit hole and gets expensive fast. Does this sound familiar? If you’re a job seeker, it probably does!
Using a story format and writing down the actions taken, a tangible outcome and documenting your skills will help create the content needed to give you the edge for your CV.
For job seekers, the most important tool is their skill set, which is enhanced by experience. It’s then a skill in itself to be able to articulate in writing why you’re the best person for the role (referencing this skill set), and be able to back it up with examples. Tricky stuff. If I asked you to jot down 5 of your key achievements and skills, could you do it easily?
When selecting which skills to highlight on your CV, job seekers need to think about the end goal and what sort of profile they want to create for each role they apply for. Just like a chef who cooks a special dish and trying to find the right knife to help them pull it off, there is so much noise job seekers have to cut through to find the best choice. Ask five people or recruiters for feedback on how best to bring your experience alive, and you will receive 5 different answers. The advice is endless and the choice of which skills to choose is challenging… so I suggest starting with three steps:
Use whatever gadget is handy, or a good old fashioned pen and paper and start writing down what you believe are your core skills using the SOAR format in a table, (situation, obstacle, action, result and skills). Start with five and keep adding, remember to include both your professional and personal life. Many people do incredible things outside of work, I have met professional musicians, football coaches, volunteers and all of these activities come with new and diverse skills. If you find it difficult to document your achievements and skills then why not create a list of what a typical day at work looked like and jot down those tasks then group them together. Also reviewing appraisals and asking colleagues and managers for feedback is invaluable.
Secondly once you have a list of ten or more achievements using the SOARS framework get a green pen and circle the skills you enjoy the most. I enjoy is making something out of nothing especially treats for Easter. This means finding random ingredients and bringing them together to create the best Easter eggs ever! This ranking process is very important as it helps in your third and final step. Now do the same and circle the things you choose not to do in your next role.
Chefs rely on their knives to help them create masterpieces; the chopping, dicing or slicing is important depending on the dish they plan to create. If they have created something nice they know they can do something similar the next time. The same applies to your successes or achievements. Now is the time to look at each of the skills highlighted in red. For each of the skills, can you remember something you did that made you feel fantastic? A great way to make this easier is to break it down and think about a situation you faced, the challenges involved and how you dealt with those challenges to create a positive outcome.
Situation: Your children told the school you were happy to make an Easter cake decorated for the bake sale and forgot to tell you until the night before. ‘No problem!’ you said, until you went to the fridge to get the milk and realised there was not enough left.
Challenge: There was no time to go to the store for more so what to do?
Action: You checked the fridge saw there was a bit of single cream, so you used the cream and remainder of the milk and combined them together… but you were still short! Given the cream is thicker, you added some water and added it to the batter. The outcome was a cake that looked and tasted amazing, your children were happy and working together you created amazing decorations and was sure it would stand up to the scrutiny of the school bake sale.
Result: (Write this out in tangible, numerical terms as much as possible). We could say cake made and decorated within 90 minutes achieving 100% children (customer) satisfaction winning raising £15 for the school bake sale.
This is a bit of fun but can you do the same when documenting you achievements and showcasing your skills. Once this is done take a few of your actions combined with a result and that is the statement that appears on your CV. If you want to know more be sure to get in touch.