What are you good at?

If you don’t know what you’re good at, how on earth are you going to tell your prospective employer?

Of course we all know what we’re good at, what we find difficult is expressing it.

There are a number of reasons for this, the major one being programming. Now I’m not talking about computers here so you don’t need to be a geek to understand this. Think of what we have been told ever since we were children:

“Children should be seen and not heard”.
“Don’t be a big-head”.
“Don’t be a show-off”.
“People don’t want to hear you talking about yourself all the time”.

So, for most of us, it goes against the grain to talk about ourselves in glowing terms. Our problem is, unless we do, we’re unlikely to put together impressive marketing documents otherwise known as CVs, resumes or covering letters, and, when it comes time for the interview, we could be floundering.  Remember there’s a lot of competition out there.

And there’s no point in complaining that “people with the ‘gift of the gab’ get on”.
Have you not heard that “shy bairns get no biscuits”?

We have to be ready to talk about ourselves and to tell the story the best way possible. If you need permission from someone to do this then
I hereby grant you, my reader, the permission to say what it takes!

The next thing we come up against is memory, or possibly the lack of it. Here the problem is slightly different. We tend to do our job on autopilot, because we’ve been doing it so long, it’s just a series of habits which get us through what, otherwise, might be a boring, mundane day. It’s surprising just how quickly these habits can take control.

You set off for work in the morning – can you remember much about your journey? Very scary, especially if you drive to work!
You do a day’s work and travel back home – can you remember what you did?

If there was something out of the ordinary, you might just but even that memory will be pushed into the background after you’ve told your partner or best friend about it.

So, when it comes time to talk to a stranger about what you do at work, the memories have been pushed away into the archives of the brain, down into the dungeon, behind the thick oak doors and stone walls where your memories are stored in dark damp cells covered in inches of dust. The only light which reaches here is from the tar torches which gutter in the draft, disturbing the spiders on their webs, and you hear the scrabbling noises of …

It’s not very inviting is it, no wonder you don’t want to go down there!

Why can’t we store our memories somewhere more inviting? Of course we can. It’s up to you and the way you visualise things.

If we had our memories stored in cabanas or beach huts in our favourite resort, where it’s a pleasure to walk across the sun kissed sand, listening to the murmuring of the surf on the beach and smelling the scent of the oleander trees, opening up each of the doors, seeing the cool interior as a relief from the hot sun …
Might we want to go there more often?

Now you’ve got the perfect place to store the memories, let’s put some in there.

Take time, right now, as you read this, mentally relax in the cabana, with a cool drink, and think back over the day.  What did you do out of the ordinary, how did you do it, what was the result?
Think about again, this time perhaps mentally turn on your I-pod to a favourite track, listen to the music and think about what happened again. Don’t be surprised that each time you think about this you’ll be able to recall more and more detail.

When you feel very comfortable, take a moment and jot down, in a notebook, the main details. You might want to jot down the name of the tune as well. What you’re doing in your mind is creating an association between the music and the memory. The more vivid you can make this experience, the easier you’ll find it to recall.

Do it again with another experience and soon you’ll have a powerful way of remembering how and what you do.

If music isn’t something you remember easily, use something else to create the association. It could be anything, a photograph or painting, a flower or plant, an animal, a favourite city. Experiment, try a few things, see what works for you.

If you still have difficulty in working out what you do, ask one of your colleagues what they think is the most important thing or out of the ordinary thing you do. You’ll probably be amazed at how their memory is better than yours.

Gather these stories together, you’ll need to use them shortly!


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