What career category are you in?
Engineer? Author? Content Marketer? Accountant Executive Recruiter? Advertising Manager? Consultant? Personal Trainer?
These are all common ways to describe the career box you play in.
How big is the category you’re in? There are literally hundreds and hundreds of individuals in each of these professional categories.
Successful careers are determined not only by your performance, but also by the number of other people who share your category.
The larger the population in your category, the more intense competition you face and the tougher it is to rise to the top.
It’s extremely difficult to get noticed in the crowd and attract the attention you need to progress in your career.
The secret is to redefine your category so you are the only one in it.
Reduce the crowd you’re in to you and only you.
This means getting really granular in terms of what defines you as opposed to anyone else.
So, you’re NOT an accountant!
You may carry the accountant tag, but in terms of positioning yourself for personal growth opportunities, you are an accountant with certain attributes that make you unique.
And as such, you cannot be compared with other accountants; you are in an accountant category by yourself.
So how might you go about defining you, “the accountant of 1”?
Here are 4 questions to ponder.
1. What added education do you have (that is useful to the organization) that traditional accountants typically don’t have? It could relate to business skills but could also include marketing, sales or operations.
2. What skills and experience have you amassed that would surprise people coming from a “numbers person”? People who have a startup history, for example, have a leg up on others who lack this experience.
3. What unique business ideas do you have that make you MORE than an accountant and better able to help chart the strategic course for the organization than others?
Are you a numbers or finance person who can add strategic value to the organization? Many people think narrowly about what they can offer; a broader view of the value you can provide can separate you from others.
4. Do you have a gift for relating to others which might be an unusual trait of someone who fulfills this perceived introspective role? An accountant with human resources competencies would surprise people.
Consider the standard definition of your job as the foundation on which to build a structure which applies only to you.
Your basic role is only the entry level to a successful career. You need it to play the career game but it guarantees nothing unless you add to it dimensions of uniqueness that others don’t have.
There is no formula for this work, no equation that yields your category of 1.
It requires introspective examination in combination with an accurate assessment of what the marketplace needs.
Roy Osing (@royosing) is a former President of TELUS and Current president and CEO of the consulting firm Brilliance for Business, with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all the major business functions including business strategy, marketing, sales, customer service and people development. He is a blogger, content marketer, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead.