So what’s a USP - or unique selling point?
If you are a woman working in a male dominated field - your USP is that you’re the only woman in the room! That’s a start -and it does have benefits, but you want to be remembered for more than that! So today, I’m going to help you find out what your own personal USP is.
In this video I’ll give you 2 simple practical tips to find your USP.
If you don't want to watch the video... this is what is covers...
1. Find as many examples as you can when people have given you feedback.
Think about 360 feedback, appraisals, letters of recommendation, LinkedIn testimonials, feedback from clients - anything you can get your hands on. Feedback from others is vital because other people’s opinions about us are much more important than what we think of ourselves. We all get fired, hired, or promoted based on what other people think.
2. Gather new feedback. Ask friends, colleagues and clients to describe you in 3 words or phrases.
You might want to ask them for a negative one so you get a rounder picture. I would hope to see an overlap between how friends and colleagues describe you. If you do, it means you’re being authentic in both places.However… if your friends say ‘Hilarious with a wry wit’ but your colleagues say ‘Quiet, and serious’ it means there’s a disconnect, which is something I can help you with. Listen for the keywords people keep using to describe you. When you see a pattern in certain words being repeated - Bingo - that tells you what your USP currently is. That is: how you’re viewed by others - your brand. If you feel that you are not happy with your USP, or you think it needs to change in order to land that dream job, you may want to consider my coaching programme, Pathway to Promotion.
So - you’ve scoured for old feedback, and got some new feedback, and now you’ve got your USP.
Now… use what people say about you to your advantage - it really helps you sell yourself. Whether it’s in a job interview, in a new project meeting, or with new colleagues. For example…I’m excited to be joining this project, colleagues often joke about my eye for detail, so I’m hoping to make myself useful’ ... or ‘I’d love to be considered for this role, as it feels perfect for me. Some of the most common feedback I get is about my creativity and out of the box thinking.' Nowhere have you said ‘Look at me world, I’m practical or detail-oriented’ - you’re letting the feedback you’ve had, do the talking, which makes building your USP authentic - something that’s really important to my coaching clients.
If you’re reading this because you’re on the hunt for a new job, I think you’ll like my video 'Stand out CV's - 6 Simple Steps.'
We have created a condensed six month executive coaching programme to help professional women, but particularly women working in male dominated fields, achieve their career goals.
It’s all done online – combining the best of individual live sessions with video & e-mail support. There are spaces on the programme right now!
If you're not sure executive coaching is your thing, you can book a FREE, no-obligation 30 minute session with Dr Suzanne Doyle Morris, to find out if it's right for you.
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What might you, Maya Angelou and Michelle Obama all have in common? Self-doubt perhaps? Otherwise known as ‘impostor syndrome’, it affects women, no matter how accomplished or well-qualified they are, far more than it does men. On book tours for her bestseller ‘Becoming’, Michelle Obama exposed this frailty when admitting to feeling like an imposter most of the time. Similarly, the acclaimed novelist Maya Angelou admitted: "I have written eleven books, but each time I think, 'uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.'"
When I was writing my first book ‘Beyond the Boys’ Club: Strategies for Achieving Career Success as a Woman Working in a Male Dominated Field’ I was amazed at how many accomplished women struggle with the sense that at any day, they’ll be ‘found out’ for how little they know. Women who lead large teams, women with a slew of qualifications behind their name, women who are seen as leaders in their field - the kind of people most of us aspire to be. In many ways, a book about successful women, wouldn’t have been complete without tackling Impostor Syndrome.
That’s not to say men too don’t struggle with feelings of self-doubt as well. It is widely claimed they simply hide it better than women - the ‘fake it till you make it’ mentality, of which there’s likely to be some truth. However, I would also add that amongst the corporate clients I advise, historically led by men, the credibility and commitment of women is indeed more likely to be questioned. If the man who takes off for his child’s sports day is seen as a ‘dedicated dad’ but the woman who does the same is seen as ‘not committed’ - is is any wonder women begin to buy the idea they are less credible and experience a creeping sense of self-doubt?
Doubt is contagious. This is particularly true if there are few role models around her with whom she identifies. Asking the more accurate question ‘Will I succeed here?’ starts to bleed into the more undermining question: ‘Will I succeed?’ Conversely, if you are a white male, native speaker in the country in which you work, feeling uncertain, looking around and seeing lots of leaders ahead of you with whom you identify is reassuring. It also ‘seeps’ into your identity to creates a sense of security and certainty that you are likely to be on the right path - the opposite of self-doubt.
In the 25 years I have focused on the psychology of professional women, I’d advise 3 truisms:
Already, companies are using Artificial Intelligence (aka robots) to scan your CV. Would your CV pass the 'bots' test?
This video takes you through six simple steps to help make sure your CV makes it through to the next stage.
1. Use keywords from the job description
2. Choose the correct format
3. Bots don't like graphics
4. Results, NOT duties
5. Double check your spell check
6. Don't forget your cover letter
Watch the video to find out the details, and share it with any women you know who are looking for a job in a male-dominated field.
This is one of the most commonly questions I get when speaking about gender equality- most often by men, but normally by people who assume that women who ‘want top jobs’ behave the same way as men who want top jobs. But for most women I know, the politicking, the self-promotion, the ‘mine is bigger than yours’ mentality doesn’t fit. How do we know women want top jobs? Because they spend their time focused on getting their jobs done often to the detriment of the politicking etc. Plus research by Boston Consulting Group shows women have ambition that equals men, but how that gets fostered depends on company culture. Similarly, other research from Centre for Talent Innovation has found ethnic minority women are actually more ambitious than white women. But no matter the research, it's dismaying so many people believe that women simply don't want to be in leadership positions. So if you find yourself in the middle of this debate, here’s two ways to answer that question:
Suzanne Doyle-Morris, Author, Speaker & Gender Balance Expert for 25+ years.
Hear what I told BBC Radio about what to do about the worsening gender pay gap data