How to avoid career paralysis: crafting your own personal value statement


I spend important time with clients framing their unique, specific and vivid story: the pitch for the gig that will get them where they want to go. This brief statement presents what they care about, what they have achieved and why a hirer should pay attention to them. It is written to express their passion and personality. This is not as easy as it sounds. We almost always uncover elements and attitudes that my client had not previously recognized as powerful evidence of their own value. Completely understandable; we are all easily lost in our own weeds and it takes an objective observer to spot the good stuff.

As a true creative professional you probably have agonized over many career options in the past. Once you have your story right, it not only frames you for your targeted employer/client – but equally valuably it frames you for yourself. It gives you a benchmark to help you decide what choices to make, which avenues to pursue. This statement can be crafted to allow you any flexibility that you desire, but properly thought out, it gives you a clear direction for moving forward. No more paralysis and confusion!

Apart from your own guidance, how else can you use this statement? Use it everywhere. It’s your LinkedIn summary; it’s the para that you cut and paste into your cover letters and emails; it’s the opening statement on your resume; it can be the About copy on your website. Since it’s in your own voice and not in resume-speak you’ll be able to voice it, with excerpts from it becoming your elevator pitch and personal introduction.

And don’t be shy about using it everywhere. It will help you to choose the right people to share it with and its repeated consistency will help them to be clear about just what you are good for and why they need you. Remember they don’t have the time or inclination to work that out for themselves, you have to help them to see  you as the solution to their particular problem.

Your story, call it your value statement if you like, will become the heart, soul, polestar and foundation of all your career searches, pitches, presentations and targeting.

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  • With a personal statement, it is best to be bold, relevant and offer something unique to stand out. Even with executives, I find their resumes and LinkedIn profiles too timid, lack assertiveness and do not convey a clear message (be realistic, confident and targeted). Too much use of cliches is also off-putting and there must be a consistent approach between the executive resume and LinkedIn, whilst being careful about the audience (who is going to see the personal statement).

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