My wife had the opportunity to interview a person for a position in her company and she told me this wonderful turn of phrase used by the person in the interview:
“I helped the company to …” and then the person described what had been done for the work.
Now, this person was an employee of the company in question. Not a contractor. Not a consultant. No, an employee.
If you think about it, being serious about your personal brand, your focus too would be on the skills you bring to a position that would help a department or company meet their goals.
Note how this positions the person and their work:
- The company did not drive this person’s work; instead this person helped — implied: was asked — to come in and work on this thing that was not working.
- The company couldn’t figure out how to do the stuff in question — so they turned to this person for help. Just think of a billion dollar company asking a Cubicle Warrior for help and there you go.
- Most importantly, this person realized that there were skills that were needed in the marketplace and it wasn’t about the company; instead, it was about the skills that a company could use to get something done.
The next time you’re asked what you’ve been working on, instead of saying that you were given this important whiz bang project that needed a bunch of work to be completed, change your answer.
Instead, say that your company needed some help in your (personal brand skill set) area and you were able to help them reach X, Y, and Z objectives.
The difference between being assigned work and being asked to help a company achieve their objectives is subtle.
And not subtle at all. I’d rather be the Cubicle Warrior that placed the billion dollar company into its rightful position: where I could help them out.
PS In my post yesterday on “What would you ask if you could ask one question on career management?” I received a great question in the comments and gave an answer there as well. I’m hoping you will find it great reading.