Blow your leadership horn

I had a new client who is ex-navy, from my former unit, by coincidence. “Melissa” he said,” I am not comfortable with “blowing my own horn.” I’ve encountered that sentiment often, after having coached clients over the years, particularly ex-military.

My response to not wanting to self-promote is that “modesty goes out the window.” You must come to terms with having to “blow your own horn” if you want to advance in your new civilian career. Whether you’re still in your current job or preparing for an interview, the skill of self-marketing (and it is a skill that can be developed) is vital. Afterall, this is the most competitive workforce EVER.

Because of your military career, you’ve already been groomed as a leader from day one. Once you’re preparing to launch your military
career (see my article on this site,if you’re unsure of how exactly to do this, ) being skilled in self-promomtion may “make or break you” while facing competition. The proverbial phrase that my colleagues use, such as “the one is the most qualified is not the one who necessarily gets hired” is valid.

 Why? Because it relates to how you “sell yourself” to a civilian employer. 

You may have enjoyed a direct leadership role, but you have tobreak it down into civilian terms and then “sell it” to the employer. Civilian employers don’t care (or understand) whether you were a Petty Officer, a senior NCM (non-commissioned member) or Aviation Systems Technician, they actually want to see you “blow your horn” in an interview (but not be cocky or arrogant) to beat out your competition.

Let’s look at this from another angle. Brent Filson of wrote an article,” Blowing your own leadership horn.” Filson stated that there are “two streams of competitiveness running through every organization.” Filson identified the first as “outward.” Filson defined outward as “the organization’s competitive activities toward its competitors.

As a credentialed career coach, I can show you how to position your leadership skills in an interview and WOW employers!

Call me today at 613-532-9993.

Melissa C. Martin

 ” Now this is relevant if you want to stand apart from the competition in your marketing documents (resume, cover letter, etc). A clever interview strategy is to bring in “competitive intelligence” to tell the employer that you know his/her existing challenges in the industry. Read more about this in my article, “Want to wow the employer? Use competitive intelligence,”[xyz-ihs

The second kind of competitiveness in the civilian workforce, says Filson, is inward: “It’s the competitiveness of leaders inside the organization who are vying against one another for power, recognition, privilege and promotion. ” Every organization has a funnel of power somewhere in the hierarchy of the organization. 

In the military, you have faced this with the rank and promotion structures. From the civilian perspective, you must show the inward leadership by demonstrating to your potential boss or supervisor that you will deliver value to the company. The “biggies” are saving/making money, solving major problems and improving something. Take these points into consideration when you’re interviewing.

So what’s in it for you as ex-military or a vet, vying for a civilian job?

You must be able to self-market, without crossing the fine line of “bragging.” This will immediately turn off employers and be counterproductive. Though it is necessary to blow one’s own horn while you climb your career ladder, there is a caveat.

Referring back to Filson’s article, one of his steps make sense: 

“Identify an area in your organization that needs better results.” I suggest that you reserach the employer’s “hidden agenda” (rationale for
the job being open) and then present a “90 day success plan” DURING the interview. Another way to do it is to identify the company’s “pain
points” and then talk about how you would achieve better results in the new job. These tactics will be sure to catch the employer’s attention!

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