How and why to create a personal motto
Wednesday, August 01, 2018
CEOs, high-level executives and recruiters have the shortest attention spans. Yet, some of our most critical professional moments require us to impress members of these groups quickly and profoundly.
A personal motto can be a great tool to help us take advantage of those critical junctures in our careers as well as keep us moving forward on our career path. Here are a few tips on how and why to create a personal motto.
Regardless of the market, recruiters and hiring managers rarely spend more than a few seconds screening candidates. As such, we have all gotten used to using buzzwords and clear objectives at the top of our resumes and LinkedIn profiles.
But how often do we say those objectives out loud? Do they sound natural? And do our co-workers or supervisors ever refer to us using those terms?
Having a personal motto can make it easy for recruiters to quickly understand what we do. While most of us may be nervous to limit ourselves to a niche especially when job seeking, it has been proven time and again that focusing on a niche will result in better, more appropriate responses and opportunities.
Similarly, having a motto helps others do our marketing for us. Think about it, when we reach out to our network to give a referral, isn’t it a lot easier to do with less words that are easy to remember?
For example, telling a colleague that the person you are referring is an experienced executive who consistently exceeds expectations is ok; but think of how much easier and more effective it is if we can say the person we are referring excels at providing creative solutions to tough problems. It is not only more specific, it is compelling and focused.
I'm your huckleberry
Similarly, when we must toot our own horns to get that promotion, new client or cool project, our personal motto can propel us into position. For example, by refining our approach to a specific need and then finding a catchy way to say it, we can permeate the organization with our catch phrase and become the go-to person for that thing.
One easy way to do this is to start with our position objective — either the one HR has in the job description or the one we use on LinkedIn. Delete everything but the specialty areas or areas of focus.
In other words, are you required to excel in difficult situations with dynamic deadlines? Is success in your role dependent upon the ability to manage a diverse team of highly skilled individuals? Figure out the niche areas of your role and then pick one or two that speak to your professional goals.
If you love the excitement of taking on new projects and want supervisors across departments to consider you as projects enter the pipeline, crafting a simple motto like: if it’s new, give it to you, can resonate with co-workers pretty easily.
On the other hand, if you are driven to solve problems and thrive in uncertainty, then crafting a motto that reflects your ability to accomplish goals in challenging environments would be beneficial. For example: I love gray areas; I find solutions in the chaos of problems. Both mottos are dynamic, short and easy to remember. They also provide key words that are easy for other people to use when referring to you.
The bottom line is, we are all used to rephrasing what we do into action phrases with clear deliverables.
Yet, the people in charge of the jobs we get and the work we do tend to have short attention spans. To convey our strengths in a way that propels us forward on our career path, it behooves us to create a simple motto that we can say naturally and others can repeat easily.
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