All About Employment: communicating your value

22 September 2020

We all have strengths, skills and attributes that we can bring to employers, but sometimes it is hard to talk about our value and sell ourselves. Below are some simple tips to help you communicate your value to others.

Know your strengths

To be able to communicate your value, you must know your value. Your value can be explored in different ways but here are some suggestions:

  • Brainstorm your skills, attributes, personality traits and abilities. This can be done individually or with the assistance of another person. Another option is to take an online career or strengths assessment to gain some ideas. Please see below for some potential career assessments.
  • Look for trends in feedback you have received from family, friends, supervisors, teachers, or others. Are there particular areas where you are stronger than others?
  • Recall past experiences where you felt most accomplished or successful. What did you do well? Are there common themes that emerge from these experiences?

Provide proof

Once you have identified your strengths, you need examples of times when you showed these strengths.

A mistake people often make is to state that they have strengths, but provide no evidence of these strengths. If someone states they are punctual, that is a statement that may or not be true. In order to support the claim or punctuality, an example can be given, such as:

“Over the last five years of volunteering, I often showed up early and left late, even on holidays. This led to my supervisor giving me the responsibility of taking attendance for all the volunteers and reporting back the results.”

Develop an example for each separate strength, and be ready to speak about your strengths - you never know when you may meet someone who could lead to a volunteer, work experience, or employment opportunity!

Language matters

Positive language leaves a positive impression, while negative language leaves a negative impression. It is often hard to express strengths with confidence and many people soften their strengths but using phrases such as “I only” or “I just”, for example “I just did some admin work”.

This negates the effort you put into your work, and also the impact you had. It is often enforced for us to be modest, and not to seem boastful. In an interview, this is your opportunity to shine, and show what worth you have to an employer. Using negative words or phrases will not only make the employer see you as less confident, but it will make you feel less confident.

Practice makes perfect

It can often feel uncomfortable to speak about your strengths, and it can take some practice to develop confident speaking skills. The more you practice, the more natural it will feel. Some suggestions:

  • Pair up with a professional, such as a service provider or Employment Consultant for a mock interview. Ask for feedback and take on suggestions.
  • Either video or audio record your answers. You can then review the recording to see how you feel you come across. Watching or listening to yourself can help you notice areas of improvement. You can also review with another person.

Further resources

How to Communicate Your Value, by blind professional speaker, Ben Pettingill.

Online career assessments:

My Future: requires registration, but no fees involved

Job Outlook Career Quiz

 

All About Employment is a series of articles to assist people with various topics about employment. To access other articles:

Seeking employment in tough times

Sensational Skills

For more information, contact Vision Australia employment specialist Belinda Wilson.