Tag Archives: Elevator pitch

How Well Do Today’s Career Choices Endure Over Time?

Donald Clifton

Donald Clifton

Career development and job search are founded on uncovering individual skills, competencies, strengths, capabilities, interests and likes.

This discovery can involve introspective “personal archaeology,” often enabled by standardized career and personality assessment tools.

However, social science research suggests that it is difficult to “know” preference – career and otherwise – in order to map this “supply” to the “demand” in available career roles.

Gilbert Ryle

Gilbert Ryle

More than 60 years ago, acclaimed Oxford University philosopher Gilbert Ryle foreshadowed the philosophical and cognitive problems entailed in “knowing one’s own mind.”

Rene Descartes

Rene Descartes

Ryle considered how people acquire attitudes, traits, and their dispositions to act in The Concept of Mind  , an erudite attack on Cartesian dualism of mind and body

Daryl Bem

Daryl Bem

Two decades later, Daryl Bem of Cornell University substituted laboratory research for Ryle’s philosophical reasoning, and demonstrated that people may not know what they like or their skills until they observe their behavior in studies of “self-perception theory.”

Bem found that people draw inferences about who they are and they “become what they do,” particularly when people are not certain of what they think or feel, and when they believe that they freely chose to behave as they did.

Bruce Hood

Bruce Hood

Bruce Hood of University of Bristol expanded the self-perception argument to posit that “the self” is an illusion, so it is difficult to “know” what the “self” likes, values, and prefers.

However, behaviors can be shaped and constrained by external social standards:  People learn to become themselves by interacting with others, according to Charles Horton Cooley, who coined the term “the looking glass self” more than a century ago.

Charles Horton Cooley

Charles Horton Cooley

Therefore, people may choose a career acceptable to parents or social observers who attribute “respect” and “prestige.”

Hood showed that the fluid process of constructing the self is a created narrative which is experienced as “a cohesive, integrated character.”
Since the “self” is constructed, it changes over time, and people significantly and consistently underestimate how much they will change in the future.

This finding has important implications for anyone seeking to distill values, strengths, and preference a job search “elevator speech,” “value proposition,” and “pitch.”

Introspection, therefore, offers limited career insight and guidance: People need to see how they respond, then infer attitudes and preferences for career and other life choices.
This argues for taking exploratory action to “try on” choices, such as in “realistic job previews” found in internships and other on-the-job experiences.

The challenge to career development and decision-making doesn’t end there.
Even if it’s possible to infer preferences from one’s behavior, those inferences are likely to change – a lot – over time.
This means that today’s career may not change in synchrony with one’s personal changes.

Daniel Gilbert

Daniel Gilbert

Daniel T. Gilbert and Jordi Quoidbach of Harvard collaborated with Timothy D. Wilson of the University of Virginia demonstrated this shift in in personalities, values, and preferences over decades of life – and people’s underestimate of these changes – and called it the “end of history illusion.”

Jordi Quoidbach

Jordi Quoidbach

They surveyed more than 19,000 people ages 18 to 68 and found that  young people, middle-aged people, and older people all believed they had changed a lot in the past decade but would change relatively little in the future decade.

Timothy Wilson

Timothy Wilson

The researchers reported that the typical 20-year-old woman participant’s predictions for her next decade were not nearly as radical as the typical 30-year-old woman’s recollection of how much she had changed in her 20s, with this trend holding for volunteers into their 60s.

They found that participants were able to accurately recall personality changes that correlated well expected results, based on independent research charting of personality trait shifts with age.

Gilbert, Quoidbach and Wilson conducted lab studies that found people tend to overpay for future opportunities to indulge their current preferences due to this “end of history” illusion.
This trend may have significant consequences when choices involve potential life partners, long-term financial commitments, and career choices.

These researchers suggest that people underestimate future changes because people may be threatened by the idea that current values and preferences are transitory.
They speculate that such a realization may lead people to doubt many decisions, and experience decision-slowing due to anxiety.

An alternate explanation is that the mental energy required to imagine future changes exceed the effort of recalling the past, so “people may confuse the difficulty of imagining personal change with the unlikelihood of change itself.”

Dan McAdams

Dan McAdams

Dan McAdams of Northwestern University seconded this view and added, “The end-of-history effect may represent a failure in personal imagination,” based on his observations of how people construct stories about their past and future lives in Identity and Story: Creating Self in Narrative (The Narrative Study of Lives).
He noticed that many people tell complex, dynamic stories about the past but then make vague, prosaic projections of a future similar to the present.

These findings suggest that introspection and standardized assessment instruments may have more value when coupled with observing one’s actual behavior and reflected impressions from others.

Additionally, it is wise to:

  • Anticipate the value of changing, expanding, or modifying one’s job role over time
  • Develop a wide array of transferrable skills, applicable across a variety of domains to increase the breadth of options for later preferences.
  • How do you uncover or infer your career strengths and preferences?
  • How do you monitor a possible “end of history” illusion when making career plans?

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©Kathryn Welds

Igniting Purpose and Passion

Robert Fried

Robert Fried

Robert Fried drew on principles articulated in his previous book, A Marketing Plan for Life, linking a 12-point business marketing plan to clarify life purpose and interests.

He suggests applying these marketing principles to defining personal life purpose, value proposition, brand, and “elevator pitch”:

Define the business you’re in:

• What’s unfinished for me to experience?
• What’s unfinished for me to give?
• What’s unfinished for me to learn?
• What’s unfinished for me to heal?
—–
• What ignites my passion?
.When did I experience joy?
.When did I lose track of time?
.What were my childhood dreams?
.Who do I admire?
• What can I do best to serve others?
• What is my true purpose in life?
• What actions do I need to take to realize my true purpose?

Peter Montoya

Peter Montoya

Fried cited recommendations from Peter Montoya and Tim Vandehey‘s book, The Brand Called You

What business am I in? What do I offer? Who am I?
What do I “stand for”? What are my core values?
What talents, strengths, character traits make me “unique”?

Tim Vandehey

Tim Vandehey

What is my specialty? How do I demonstrate this expertise?
How do I demonstrate the value? How to I communicate the benefit?
How do I “make a difference”?
How do I consistently communicate the alignment between my “offering” and its value?
What should people care? What is my cause beyond profit-making?

  • What are my demonstrable differences? “Features”? “Benefits”?

Opinions different on the optimal duration of responses to these value-clarifying questions, but one benchmark is “more than 25 words and fewer than 25 seconds.”

-*How do you clarify your purpose and mobilize your motivation?

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Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds

Questions to Answer in Personal Brand, “Elevator Pitch”, Resume

Colleen Aylward

Colleen Aylward

Colleen Aylward asserts that the following questions must be answered in your resume, “elevator pitch”, information interview, and online presence in her book, From Bedlam to Boardroom: How to get a derailed executive career back on track!

  • What is your [narrow, deep] expertise?
  • What are your strengths?

Career Leader by Harvard Business School professor Timothy Butler

  • What is your unique business differentiator?
  • What problems have you solved? How?
    [Note accomplishments and quantified impact, not responsibilities;
    Specify numbers, even if <10 – contrary to style rules]
  • How have you increased revenues, profit?
  • How have you improved processes?
  • How have you demonstrated creativity, innovation?
  • How have you reduced costs?

The last four items, indicated by *, are considered critical Key Performance Indicators that you must convey clearly, repeatedly, and memorably in all in-person and online activities.

-*What assessments and tools have you used to uncover your strengths, expertise and key differentiator?

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Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds

3P Marketing to Define, Communicate Personal Brand

Rita Allen

Rita Allen

Rita B. Allen defines 3 Ps Marketing to create personal brand and effectively market yourself in an increasingly competitive, global employment landscape.

.Preparation:
-Conduct self-assessment and “due diligence”
-Define brand differentiators and subject matter expertise
-Articulate positioning statement (“elevator pitch”)
-Curate your professional network

.Packaging:
-Create your portfolio (resume, CV, performance reviews, awards, presentations, articles, references, testimonials, community and professional service, continuing education)
-Expand alliances with relevant thought leaders

.Presentation:
-Practice and refine delivery of your brand message
-Develop strong active listening, presentation, and interpersonal skills
-Continuously enhance your brand

This approach helps answer:
• What are your “value-adds”, your unique differentiators?
• What is your personal brand?
• How comfortable are you articulating your brand?
• How do you continuously enhance your brand?

-*What elements do you consider when communicating your personal brand?

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©Kathryn Welds