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Sell Others on Who You Really Are--Not What You've Done

Many people assume opportunities comes to those with killer résumés and great experience. That's, at best, an exaggeration. The truth is, colleagues don't care about the details of your past accomplishments--which awards you won, or how quickly you were promoted to vice president. They just want to know enough about you to be convinced that you're a "player."

Don't believe it? Here's a little game to play that will convince you. Think of someone you admire, a coworker or acquaintance higher up the ladder than you. Got the person in mind? Now, ask yourself these questions:

  • Where did s/he go to school?
  • Where did s/he work before the job he has now?
  • What's the biggest professional award the person won in the last three years?
Don't be surprised if you can't answer even one question. Most people don't care about the specifics of their colleague's resume-they just want to know enough to be reassured it won't be a career limiting move to be associated with that person. So stop focus on racking up accomplishments that others-even your admirers-wouldn't remember.

In 2011, here's what you need: the ability to look an executive straight in the eye, and say with complete confidence that a certain opportunity is perfect for you, that you were put on earth to do that exact job. How do you develop this conviction, this rock solid belief in yourself? By understanding what are your core values. What do you stand for? What principles, if violated, would cause you to walk away from even most lucrative opportunities? Once you've identified these values, list the different opportunities that you see, or that you could create, and put them into one of five categories: "worthless," "ok," "good," "great" and "amazing." The "amazing" opportunities are perfect manifestations of your values.

You will land these amazing roles by selling everyone, in addition to yourself, on the fact that you are on Earth to do this job.

Think about it. Who else but Richard Branson could run Virgin? Who else but Bill Gates could have founded Microsoft? In both cases, their roles perfectly expressed their values.

So your challenge is to identify your core values. Many tools on the Internet that can help you, including this one.

Next: 2. Reimagine Your Future
Photo courtesy Alex France, CC 2.0.

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