Career Resources

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What makes you "younique?"

At the university where I work, I teach a career development class to sophomores and juniors.  As an ice breaker activity in my first class last Thursday, I had each student stand up, introduce him/herself, and tell the class one unique thing about him or herself.  One student said she had been on the Oprah show regarding a community service project she had been involved in, another said he spoke seven languages, another had jumped out of a plane with skis on, and another student had played the piano for 12 years. 

As we went around the room, I was amazed and impressed by all of the extraordinary accomplishments of my students!  Their animated expressions in sharing these accomplishments showed me that they were equally as proud.  An unintended outcome of this "getting to know you" activity was that I found myself saying things like, "Wow! You need to put that on your resume under your "Interests" section," or "That would be great to list in your skills section," or "You definitely should mention that during your interviews!"

So, think about what makes you "younique" and then think about how you can leverage this skill or experience or interest in your career planning.  Perhaps you can put it on your resume or perhaps you can mention it in a cover letter.  Or perhaps you can mention it during an interview when the interviewers says, "So, tell me a little bit about yourself," or "What is the accomplishment you're most proud of?" As I mentioned in another post about interviewing, when you start talking about something you're really proud of or passionate about during an interview, it boosts your confidence level and sets a positive tone for the rest of the interview.

Another way you could leverage your unique characteristic would be to talk about it during a networking event.  Oftentimes, students tell me they don't know what to talk about during these professional gatherings.  After the initial name and "So, what do you do?" exchanges, I think it would be a great idea to talk about your unique activity.  The other person will most likely want to hear more about it, just as I did when my students shared their stories last Thursday.  Maybe the other person will even share your passion, or interest, or hobby and wouldn't that be a terrific way to establish your professional relationship?

Now, what if you can't think of something unique about yourself?  (I'm sure there is something!)  However, if you really can't think of anything you could use in your job search, then it might be time for you to try something new or to challenge yourself.  Perhaps you could join a club at school, try a new sport or hobby, or take a class just for fun.  I have no doubt that you'll soon realize the "youniqueness" in you that was just waiting to be discovered!

No comments: