You’ve taken career and personality assessments to help you with your career search. But what do you do with all of this information? You need to be able to synthesize what you’ve learned about yourself and use it to articulate who you are.
Sure, assessment results will give you an array of phrases you can use to describe yourself. But now you need to incorporate these phrases into your personal story, which tells other people:
- Who you are
- How you see the world
- What you bring to the table
The ultimate goal is to articulate your strengths and skills in a way that employers know what value you bring to their organization. Let’s dig into why self-articulation matters so much, how you can articulate who you are, and a few examples for inspiration.
Why self-articulation matters
Assessments are a helpful way to learn about yourself — but now it’s time to apply that knowledge! Self-articulation is an important skill in so many ways, but it’s important for these three situations.
1. Write a better elevator pitch
Chances are, your family and friends are already asking you what you’re going to do with your degree, or what kind of a job you’re looking for. With a well-thought-out elevator speech, you’ll be able to easily describe yourself to anyone: people you sit next to on an airplane, a waiting room, a dinner party — or gasp, even someone you meet in an elevator!
Whether you’re talking to a friend, a potential employer, or simply explaining what you’re doing with your life to your Great Aunt Marilyn, a personal story is a must. By organizing it ahead of time and practicing it in a conversational tone, you’ll open more doors without the anxiety of explaining yourself.
2. Simplify networking
If the idea of networking gives you hives, don’t worry. Networking is a skill that you improve over time. However, preparing your introduction ahead of time will already give you a leg up. You’ll have a succinct and professional introduction you can use at networking events, job fairs, and other career opportunities to highlight your skills and goals.
3. Improve your job interview skills
Before you go to any interview, you should pick the top four to five things you absolutely, positively need the interviewer to know about you before you leave. Fortunately, self-articulation helps you pack as much information into your response to the dreaded interview question, “Tell me about yourself.”
Without sounding like an automaton or reciting a boring list, you can energetically and enthusiastically tell the listener who you are, where you’re at in your life, what you’re seeking in the way of work, and what you’re asking of them. It’s a great way to kick off an employer relationship on the right foot!
How to articulate who you are (with examples)
After gathering your handy-dandy list of aptitudes, strengths, and phrases that describe you, pick through the information for the most meaningful parts. From there, you’ll craft a narrative that fits the job or position you’re applying for, or the person you’re speaking to.
Follow this roadmap to articulate who you are:
- Your name
- Studies and interests
- What you’re looking for
- Your ask to the audience, such as advice, a job, or referrals
This is going to look different for everyone, but here are a few examples for inspiration:
“Hi, I’m James, a Syracuse University grad with a major in Economics. I’m most interested in using my analytical skills to work in global demographics. My thesis was on declining birth rates in Japan and the impact on their future workforce. Of course, I’m open to a variety of industries and would love to talk further, particularly if you have suggestions or advice.”
“Hi, I’m Sarah. I just received my Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and have a background in research and creative writing. I’ve studied consumer protection and criminal justice and authored a variety of social justice advocacy pieces. I worked as an intern for Representative XYZ where I learned to prioritize tasks, greet visitors politely, and deal with cranky constituents. I’m looking for an entry-level research or administrative opportunity in the private or public sector. Any suggestions?“
Get help with your personal elevator speech
If your personal story feels too robotic at this point, it just means you need to practice. As you share your story more often, it will become less canned and smoother. Over time, you’ll feel more comfortable articulating who you are, which will help you take advantage of all of the benefits of networking and connecting with others. Remember, the goal is to use this basic description to connect your skills to the industry, company, job, or skills that interest you.
But it’s hard writing about yourself! It’s okay to get help, especially when it comes to your future. Get in touch with me for help with identifying your strengths, exploring careers, and crafting the perfect elevator pitch.