How to Brag About Yourself to Employers

A few weeks back I addressed the issue of “I don’t have experience” in the new grad job search.  In one blog I posted this “tweetable:”

Most new grads have more experience and skills than they give themselves credit for, and then struggle with turning it into value statements for employers. [TWEET THIS!]Value Statements

The truth is most grads do have experience. It just may not be in a j-o-b for which they were paid a salary. It could be experience harnessed from any of these:

  • Leadership roles in Greek life, student clubs or academic projects
  • Tutoring or mentoring
  • Babysitting or yard work
  • College athletics
  • Campus work-study programs, summer jobs
  • Paid or unpaid internships, externships or co-ops

After I posted my tweetable, one of my tweeps asked for an example of a value statement. Ah, good question! So today I want to give you “value statement” examples.

Developing your value statement

But first, I want to walk your through a methodology so that you can develop your own. This exercise intends to get you thinking differently about your experience.

Instead of saying “I only mowed lawns, that’s no big deal,” I want you to think about that experience differently. I want you to think about all the skills you had to exhibit in order to do that work. Suspend your judgment about how important it was – or wasn’t. That’s not the point. See my video and blog on Why Should They Hire You? for more specific examples.

The point is, that in order to get that work done, you must have demonstrated some skill.

Now that you are job searching, you take that skill, and turn it into a statement that provides a prospective employer evidence of your competence in that skill. Ideally, it’s a skill they need in the job for which they are hiring. And for which you are a strong candidate.

First,  practice your own using this model:     E –T – H – O – S

To get to your value statement, use this easy to remember formula. We’ll walk through an example. Then you’ll have the opportunity to create your own through by downloading the worksheet below. I hope you find this is a little less daunting than you are making it out to be.

Value Statements ETHOS

EXAMPLE #1:  This grad worked on fraternity events in college.

E = Experience

Managed fraternity events in college during my junior year.

T = Task

Coordinated 3 events. Biggest event had 200 people attend.

H = How

Coordinated a planning team of other members.
Usually had about 60 days lead time between the time event was announced and when it was held.
Managed to a budget and timeline, and set goals for attendance we expected.

O = Outcome

All 3 events achieved attendance goals.
All 3 were within budget.
Often there were behind the scenes issues, but we were able to handle them without impacting the quality of the event.

S = Skills

Managing to a deadline (60 days)
Managing to a budget (usually $1,000)
Balancing multiple priorities (school work, fraternity function, overseeing team’s activities, being on site the night of the events to make sure things went well)
Had to make decisions with looming deadlines, budget; often didn’t have a lot of time.
Accountability to others, final product needed to meet the expectation of fraternity community.

Ok, now let’s craft a value statement. This is an example of how to talk about your experience in terms that an employer might find valuable:

The work I did managing fraternity events prepared me well for this job. I’ve coordinated three successful events for up to 200 people. Typically I had less than 60 days to make it happen.

I’ve learned how to manage to a deadline, balance multiple priorities to get the job done, and make decisions quickly in a high-pressure situation. Let me give you a couple of specific examples…

In an interview or networking conversation, you could offer a couple of specific examples or stories of how you demonstrated these skills more specifically.

You can download another example, and a template for your own ETHOS Value Statement by filling out the form below:

The whole idea here is to give you the chance to turn what you might think is “trivial” into confidence building statements that will help you see the skills you already possess.

You might not have the experience in a specific job. So use statements like these to show employers how you possess the skills they need.

Action for you this week!

I’d love to hear what you’re working on – or what you’re struggling with. Leave a comment below with your value statement or your question!

And check out the Facebook page where I’ve been posting examples each day this week!

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3 Responses to “How to Brag About Yourself to Employers”

  1. Margery Stanton
    June 8, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    When presenting your skills to others, use concise statements that briefly describe the value you can bring to the organization. Highlight a strength you have, and show how you have used that strength to achieve results. This kind of statement is referred to as a Power Statement.

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