Define Your Career Success

Nancy Anderson
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What does your current job or career situation look like? Do any of these scenarios apply to you:

-- You have enjoyed steady career progression, but have been unexpectedly thrust into the job market for the first time 10+ years.

-- A viable opportunity for internal promotion has popped up, but you will be going up against some the company's top employees.

-- You have reached the proverbial 'glass ceiling' and want to pursue new executive opportunities.

-- A mentor wants to introduce you to a key decision maker and a preliminary interview is scheduled.

What do each of these situations have in common?

They require you to put your best foot forward and be ready to provide solid, quantifiable achievements that support your proof of performance. Whether you are actively job hunting, preparing for an interview or about to connect with a new contact, you need to be able to articulate your key strengths and unique value proposition.

If it has been a very long time since you sat down and documented your career success, now is a great time to start. One of the key areas where many professionals fall short is in capturing strong, quantifiable and qualitative achievements relevant to their industry.

For example, a sales professional's big wins are going to defined in terms of sales growth, market share expansion and strategic alliances, whereas a finance executive is going to attract attention if he has significant achievements involving P&L management, ROI maximization and cost reduction.

So how do you define success in your industry, marketplace or profession? Allow me to share with you a few memory-jogging questions to help you remember, identify and chronicle high-impact achievements that can power up your resume and "wow" any interviewer.

Did you recommend a new system or process that improved efficiency or productivity?

Possible answer: Introduced innovative process improvement initiatives that automated 45 processes, shrunk operating costs by $500,000, and eliminated 100 % of manually-driven tasks.

Have you done anything that generated cost or time savings for your company?

Possible answer: Uncovered $10 million savings in administrative expenses by conducting extensive review of corporate and field sales operations.

Are you charged with reducing costs or streamlining operations?

Possible answer: Reduced annual HR expenditures by $18 million by eliminating duplicate costs, creating benefit efficiencies and decreasing employee training costs.

What programs have you initiated that positively impacted the bottom line?

Possible answer: Grew annual revenues 20% by introducing a 'first-of-its-kind' technology program that offered customers a complete suite of IT solutions instead of a la carte services.

Have you ever been involved in a start-up or turnaround operation?

Possible Answer: Conceived and developed a start-up government consulting firm from the ground up to $3+ million in operations in just two years.

What was the best compliment you received from your boss and senior management?

Possible Answer: "Charles has devised an innovative marketing philosophy that has rebranded ABC Company in the marketplace and positioned us for success. Her contribution to the team has been valuable and her expertise as a marketing guru is evident." Chief Marketing Officer, ABC Company

Getting mentally prepared to recall your career accomplishments and performance highlights is not always an easy task. Before you overwhelm yourself by trying to capture 20 years of accomplishments in one day, take a deep breath and start by working with one company at a time; review your main points and then pull it all together.

Now you are ready for your next career opportunity.

Abby M. Locke ( is a career marketing strategist and leadership brand coach who partners with 6 figure executives and professional MBA women to help them achieve true career mastery and success through cutting-edge, career branded communications, innovative job search campaigns, and proactive career management tools.


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