2. Building a positive image

Identifying your assets.

Step 2 is very important because it is where you do all the groundwork and the better you do this step the easier you will find it to create your personal brand in Step 3. It is important to remember that every single one of us has talents and achievements and no two people’s will be the same. That doesn’t matter because this is about you – it’s your personal brand.

It is not just about having lots of great exam results, there are many other qualities that are important in the world and this is your chance to think about all your assets, all the good things about you that otherwise might be missed. So, think widely.

Identifying your talents, skills, strengths and achievements will help you work out how they will help to achieve your end goal. You need to be clear about what you have got going for you and how closely that matches up with your desired goals. Understanding this will not only help you focus on the right messages but will also highlight any gaps that you need to address.

By the end of the step, when you have completed Worksheet 2, you will have a long list of both your official and subjective talents and achievements and an analysis of who you are targeting, what they are looking for and how your offer measures up.

This is the important as it will form the basis of your personal brand, which you will put together in Step 3.

Your talents, skills and strengths

This section should be comprehensive. Of course, your official achievements, such as your exam results, can be important but they are not the ‘be all and end all’. If like many people your exam results are not great don’t worry, there will be plenty of other things you can focus on, you just need to think broadly and creatively. To stand out from the rest of the competition you will need to think of all your talents and skills not just your exam results.

It can be quite hard thinking of every positive factor about you all at once and this is where Worksheet 2 will help you as it is divided into two sections. The first part is where you should be as expansive as possible and think as creatively as you can about what makes you happy, what you are good at and what you have done in any aspect of your life which you are proud of.

Whilst the section does of course provide you with the space to record your measured successes, it should also get you thinking about your ‘softer’ talents and skills – these are very important because they will often be the factors that distinguish you from other equally (or even better) qualified applicants. The second section of the worksheet is where you fine tune your answers and use your initial brainstorm to outline all your achievements.

You have a lot going for you, you just need to list it out

All the information you gather here will help you create your best possible version of WhyMe?, so be comprehensive, it will get you thinking and it is always easier to cut down than to add. Now it’s time to start thinking about all the good things associated with you.

Start with the first three questions on the worksheet:

  • what do you enjoy doing / what makes you happy? (we tend to be better at the things we like doing)
  • what do you think you are good at?
  • what are your proudest moments?

You can be as wild and comprehensive as you like in your answers to these questions – they are really there to help you think about your positive qualities and skills in as broad a sense as possible. They are the planning stage to the answers you will write in questions 4 & 5 when you outline your achievements.

In truth, if you are as comprehensive as possible in thinking about these first three questions and compile a long list, answering the final two questions will be easy – it will just be a matter of picking out the strongest factors.

Your achievements

In this section you need to identify both your official (measured) achievements, such as qualifications, awards, skills where you gained a specific grade, or where you took a test like driving, typing, music, swimming, football etc and more subjective ones – ie. those skills which are not officially measured or awarded but which have something positive to say about your drive, commitment, talents, skills and abilities.

These might include things such as carpentry, bricklaying, sewing, music, cooking, fitness, sports etc, where you have no official qualification or award but which you enjoy doing and are relatively good at.

If you are applying for a job in a sector you haven’t worked in before then you will need to be extra thoughtful. For example, you might include temporary work you have done like waitressing or dish-washing, or volunteering initiatives in which you have participated, or it might be even looser things such as overcoming a fear of heights or teaching a younger sibling to ride a bike or read. Everything you have done says something about you, so create a long list and then look at what positive things that says about you. Your attributes, even if they aren’t directly related to your chosen sphere of work, can all play an important part in helping to create a strong and attractive personal brand.

You should already have a strong and comprehensive list to look at in your answers to questions 1, 2 & 3. Start there. You will probably find that it is easier to start with your official or accredited achievements as they are concrete eg:

  • Exam qualifications
  • Driving licence
  • Qualifications from hobbies eg. sports (football, skiing, athletics, tennis, swimming, lifesaving), music, drama, DoE etc)
  • Job related qualifications even those that have nothing to do with your work eg. HGV licence, carpentry, typing, bricklaying, upholstery, plumbing, playing a musical instrument (without grades) etc.
  • Work based awards / promotions – eg. employee of the month, sales awards etc.

Then think about your  unofficial or subjective achievements – this is where the work you did answering questions 1, 2 & 3 will be particularly useful. Look at the lists you made about what you enjoy doing, what you think you are good at and what you are most proud of. These should provide you with the inspiration you need to complete your achievements section.

For example, if you said that you are sociable and like meeting people, this can be turned into the more formal skill of excellent people skills, which suggests good customer service. Or it may be that your ability with people has manifested itself in terms of encouraging siblings or friends who are shy or introverted, or dealing with difficult customers in one of your temporary jobs such as waiting or in retail, or even being on a committee of a club or social group. These examples demonstrate an ability to engage with people, a talent valued in many jobs.

You could also include things here which you are not naturally good at but have worked hard to achieve results in eg. getting maths GCSE; overcoming a fear of heights; learning to drive or dive or unblock the drains, fit a kitchen, mend a broken chair or anything else which didn’t come easily. Often the things we struggle most with are the ones which best demonstrate the positive aspects of our character.

Additionally, you might include much softer factors here which demonstrate what matters to you. They could be political, social or cultural eg.

  • Supporting BLM or standing up to the school bully
  • Visiting old people in their homes or listening to your grandparents repeat the same story many times without showing them that you’ve heard it before
  • Showing compassion
  • Showing common sense
  • Showing good judgement
  • Being fair and open minded
  • Breaking up a fight
  • Getting family or friends to make up when they have fallen out.

Some things to think about:

  • Hobbies – eg. music, sport, drama, clubs or other leisure activities. Don’t just think about what you have done but think about why they are achievements. What do they say about you? For example, if you help run a football, boxing or other sports club that is very positive. Think about it in terms of why you did it, how it helped others, what it says about you, what you learned. If you have taught yourself to play the guitar or other musical instrument what has it brought you, what does it say about you? Or you might have learned to cook never having done so before, again that says positive things about your character
  • Work success – not just specific awards but more subjective factors such as challenging projects you completed; or how you have dealt with difficult people or managed a team, or even organised the Christmas party etc.

Once you have completed the achievements section on Worksheet 2, look over it and compare it to the work you did in Worksheet 1 about your target audience.

How do you measure up? Do you meet their required needs and skills? If not, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What can I add to my achievements section?
  • Have I missed something out?
  • Should I take up a new hobby / skill to demonstrate that I do have the requisite skill set?
  • Or, should I think about another job option?

Fill in Worksheet 2 outlining your strengths and achievements, and who you are aiming to impress.