Know Your Contributions: Not Everyone’s A Rock Star At Work.

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Know Your Contributions: Not Everyone's A Rock Star At Work.Career professionals are always advising job seekers that they need to always try to quantify their results and showcase their top achievements.

But oftentimes, when I talk to clients, something that comes up in discussions is that they frequently don’t feel like they are a rock star that has super-stand out accomplishments.

What I hear is:

“I just show up every day and do my job right.”

“My job isn’t very important – I just answer the phones.”

“We met the goals – didn’t exceed them due to the economy, but we met the goals anyway.”

“My job doesn’t have that kind of responsibility.”

But the truth is, every job exists for a reason. It has a role to play in the overall operation of the company.  Take yourself out of the equation, and a piece of the business drops out, things get missed, and possibly break down.

And this boils down to one thing: EVERYONE has value in an organization.  And you need to have mental ownership of what that value in order to be able to convey that to an employer.

But this doesn’t mean that you had to be the one who rode in on a galloping white horse to save the day.

It doesn’t mean that you saved the company millions of dollars.

And it doesn’t mean that you landed a top client that brought in a huge amount of revenue.

What matters is that you did your job the best that you could, and can talk about how it helped the company.

There IS value in doing your job right… day in and day out. After all, that’s what you are paid to do.  Sometimes, there simply aren’t opportunities for you to have a lasting and significant contributions to a company that has numbers attached to it, and stands out like your name on a flashing marquee.

But tying back your work to company goals shows impact.  We each control a universe that we can impact – if we do the sum of our jobs right, then that feeds into another area of the company, which then feeds into the bigger picture of the company’s operation.  It’s all there for a reason, and there is a work flow and method to the madness.

Your job is to figure out how you help things move along. And then be able to talk about it in your resume and in the interview.   If you can talk about the value of what you do in a way that is compelling to an employer, then they will be persuaded to see what you might possibly do for them.

If you are concerned about trying to make a bigger contribution than what your current work allows, then there are a few things you can do to boost your results.

  • Ask for more work.
  • Ask for more responsibility.
  • Take on special projects.
  • Step up to serve on committees.
  • Set up metrics to measure results – many companies fail in this arena anyway.

Any of these tactics can give you opportunities to have a bigger splash. But if you aren’t inclined to do so, or the opportunity doesn’t allow for it, then instead focus on how you can illustrate the work that you do that leads to departmental or organizational successes, even if you aren’t directly contributing to it.

The more you can own the value of what you do contribute, the fact that you aren’t a “rock star” becomes less critical in the eyes of potential employers.

Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, is a Certified Advanced Résumé Writer and the president of Portland, Ore.-based Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. Clients from across the United States and Canada and from all career levels have benefited from Dawn’s highly-focused and results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. Many professional groups as well as colleges and universities have appreciated the insights and expertise she shares during presentations on career management topics, and she is a frequently requested national speaker as a result.

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